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News

Endocannabinoid system a therapeutic target in liver disease

The most recent issue of Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics reviews the endocannabinoid system in liver disease as a potential therapeutic target.

News image

Endocannabinoids are a family of potent lipid-soluble molecules, acting on the cannabinoid receptors that mediate the effects of marijuana.

The cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids and the enzymes involved in their synthesis and degradation are located in the brain and peripheral tissues, including the liver.

Dr Aloysius and colleagues from New York, USA reviewed the current understanding of the role of the endocannabinoid system in liver disease-associated pathophysiological conditions, and drugs targeting the endocannabinoid system as therapy for liver disease.

Original articles and reviews were used to summarize the relevant pre-clinical, and clinical research findings relating to this topic.

Adverse events led to withdrawal of marketing approval
Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics

The researchers found that endocannabinoid system as a whole plays an important role in liver diseases, and related pathophysiological conditions.

The research team reported that pharmacological targeting of the endocannabinoid system has had success as treatment for patients with liver disease, but adverse events led to withdrawal of marketing approval.
 
However, the team noted an optimism over novel therapeutics targeting the endocannabinoid system currently in the pre-clinical stage of development.

Dr Aloysius' team comments, "The endocannabinoid system plays an important role in the pathophysiology of liver disease and its associated conditions."

"While some drugs targeting the endocannabinoid system have deleterious neurological adverse events, there is promise for a newer generation of therapies that do not cross the blood–brain barrier."

Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2014: 39(8): 790–801
24 March 2014

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