Inhibition of human neutrophil chemotaxis by endogenous cannabinoids and phytocannabinoids: Evidence for a site distinct from CB1 and CB2

Douglas McHugh, Carolyn Tanner, Raphael Mechoulam, Roger G. Pertwee, Ruth A. Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Citations (Scopus)


Here, we show a novel pharmacology for inhibition of human neutrophil migration by endocannabinoids, phytocannabinoids, and related compounds. The endocannabinoids virodhamine and N-arachidonoyl dopamine are potent inhibitors of N-formyl-L- methionyl-L-leucyl-L-phenylalanine-induced migration of human neutrophils, with IC50 values of 0.2 and 8.80 nM, respectively. The endocannabinoid anandamide inhibits human neutrophil migration at nanomolar concentrations in a biphasic manner. The phytocannabinoid (-)-cannabidiol is a partial agonist, being similar to 40 fold more potent than (+)-cannabidiol; abnormal-cannabidiol is a full agonist. Furthermore, the abnormal-cannabidiol (CBD) analog trans-4-[3-methyl-6-(1-methylethenyl)-2-cyclohexen-1-yl]-5-methyl-1,3-benzenediol (O-1602) inhibits migration, with an IC50 value of 33 nM. This reported profile of agonist efficacy and potency parallels with the pharmacology of the novel "abnormal-cannabidiol" receptor or a related orphan G protein-coupled receptor, which are already known to modulate cell migration. Although having no effect alone, N-arachidonoyl L-serine attenuated inhibition of human neutrophil migration induced by anandamide, virodhamine, and abnormal-CBD. Our data also suggest that there is cross-talk/negative co-operativity between the cannabinoid CB2 receptor and this novel target: CB2 receptor antagonists significantly enhance the inhibition observed with anandamide and virodhamine. This study reveals that certain endogenous lipids, phytocannabinoids, and related ligands are potent inhibitors of human neutrophil migration, and it implicates a novel pharmacological target distinct from cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors; this target is antagonized by the endogenous compound N-arachidonoyl L-serine. Furthermore, our findings have implications for the potential pharmacological manipulation of elements of the endocannabinoid system for the treatment of various inflammatory conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-450
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Pharmacology
Issue number2
Early online date26 Oct 2007
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2008


  • microglial cell-migration
  • small mesenteric-artery
  • receptor CB2
  • in-vivo
  • abnormal-cannabidiol
  • inverse agonism
  • GPR55
  • 2-arachidonoylglycerol
  • ligand
  • rat


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