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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Autocrine and paracrine regulation of lymphocyte CB2 receptor expression by TGF-beta.

The marijuana-derived cannabinoid Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has been shown to be immunosuppressive. We report that THC induces the immunosuppressive cytokine TGF-beta by human peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL). The ability of THC to stimulate TGF-beta production was blocked by the CB2 receptor specific antagonist SR144528 but not by the CB1 specific antagonist AM251. Furthermore, our data suggest that TGF-beta actively regulates lymphocyte CB2 receptor expression in an autocrine and paracrine manner. Whereas the addition of recombinant TGF-beta to PBL cultures downregulated CB2 receptor expression, anti-TGF-beta antibody treatment increased CB2 receptor expression. We conclude that one mechanism by which THC contributes to immune suppression is by stimulating an enhanced production of lymphocyte TGF-beta.[1]


  1. Autocrine and paracrine regulation of lymphocyte CB2 receptor expression by TGF-beta. Gardner, B., Zu, L.X., Sharma, S., Liu, Q., Makriyannis, A., Tashkin, D.P., Dubinett, S.M. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. (2002) [Pubmed]
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