Expert Reviews in Molecular Medicine

Review Article

Emerging role of the cannabinoid receptor CB2 in immune regulation: therapeutic prospects for neuroinflammation

Guy A. Cabrala1 c1 and LaToya Griffin-Thomasa1

a1 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Medicine, Richmond, VA 23298, USA.

Abstract

There is now a large body of data indicating that the cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2) is linked to a variety of immune events. This functional relevance appears to be most salient in the course of inflammation, a process during which there is an increased number of receptors that are available for activation. Studies aimed at elucidating signal transduction events resulting from CB2 interaction with its native ligands, and of the role of exogenous cannabinoids in modulating this process, are providing novel insights into the role of CB2 in maintaining a homeostatic immune balance within the host. Furthermore, these studies suggest that the CB2 may serve as a selective molecular target for therapeutic manipulation of untoward immune responses, including those associated with a variety of neuropathies that exhibit a hyperinflammatory component.

Correspondence

c1 Corresponding author: Guy A. Cabral, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Medicine, 1101 E. Marshall Street, Richmond, VA 23298-0678, USA. Tel: +1 804 828 2306; Fax: +1 804 828 8220; E-mail: gacabral@vcu.edu