09/01/05 11:23 AM
Cannabinoids Show Promise for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Cannabinoids Show Promise for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Aug 12 - Cannabis-based drugs may have therapeutic potential in inflammatory bowel disease, UK researchers report in the August issue of Gastroenterology.

"The system that responds to cannabis in the brain is present and functioning in the lining of the gut," lead researcher Dr. Karen Wright, of the University of Bath, explained to Reuters Health. "There is an increased presence of one component of this system during inflammatory bowel diseases -- Crohn's and ulcerative colitis."

Dr. Wright and her colleagues established the location of cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 in human colonic tissue and used human colonic epithelial cells lines in cannabinoid-binding and in wound-healing experiments.

Expression of both receptors was detected on plasma cells in the lamina propria, but only CB2 was present on macrophages.

CB2 was increased and immunoreactivity was seen in the epithelium of colonic tissue characteristic of inflammatory bowel disease. Cannabinoids enhanced epithelial wound closure via CB1-related mechanisms.

Thus continued Dr. Wright, "cannabinoids, which we make ourselves, as well as synthetic cannabinoids, can promote wound healing in the gut, which is extremely interesting given that inflammatory bowel disease involves damaged gut linings."

Although no data are available yet, she added, relevant case studies of the use of cannabinoids are taking place in the UK and a clinical trial is being conducted in Germany.

Gastroenterology 2005.


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