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Immunology. 2015 Mar;144(3):352-364. doi: 10.1111/imm.12441.

Endocannabinoid signalling in innate and adaptive immunity.

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European Centre for Brain Research (CERC), I.R.C.C.S. Santa Lucia Foundation, Rome, Italy.
Centre of Integrated Research, Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome, Rome, Italy.


The immune system can be modulated and regulated not only by foreign antigens but also by other humoral factors and metabolic products, which are able to affect several quantitative and qualitative aspects of immunity. Among these, endocannabinoids are a group of bioactive lipids that might serve as secondary modulators, which when mobilized coincident with or shortly after first-line immune modulators, increase or decrease many immune functions. Most immune cells express these bioactive lipids, together with their set of receptors and of enzymes regulating their synthesis and degradation. In this review, a synopsis of the manifold immunomodulatory effects of endocannabinoids and their signalling in the different cell populations of innate and adaptive immunity is appointed, with a particular distinction between mice and human immune system compartments.


cell signalling; endocannabinoids; immune cells

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