Scientific publications

Expression of GPR55 and either cannabinoid CB 1 or CB 2 heteroreceptor complexes in the caudate, putamen, and accumbens nuclei of control, parkinsonian, and dyskinetic non-human primates

Jul 20, 2020 | Magazine: Brain Structure and Function

Eva Martínez-Pinilla, Alberto J Rico, Rafael Rivas-Santisteban, Jaume Lillo, Elvira Roda, Gemma Navarro, José Luis Lanciego, Rafael Franco


Endocannabinoids are neuromodulators acting on specific cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), representing potential therapeutic targets for neurodegenerative diseases. Cannabinoids also regulate the activity of GPR55, a recently "deorphanized" GPCR that directly interacts with CB1 and with CB2 receptors. Our hypothesis is that these heteromers may be taken as potential targets for Parkinson's disease (PD).

This work aims at assessing the expression of heteromers made of GPR55 and CB1/CB2 receptors in the striatum of control and parkinsonian macaques (with and without levodopa-induced dyskinesia). For this purpose, double blind in situ proximity ligation assays, enabling the detection of GPCR heteromers in tissue samples, were performed in striatal sections of control, MPTP-treated and MPTP-treated animals rendered dyskinetic by chronic treatment with levodopa. Image analysis and statistical assessment were performed using dedicated software. We have previously demonstrated the formation of heteromers between GPR55 and CB1 receptor (CB1-GPR55_Hets), which is highly expressed in the central nervous system (CNS), but also with the CB2 receptor (CB2-GPR55_Hets).

Compared to the baseline expression of CB1-GPR55_Hets in control animals, our results showed increased expression levels in basal ganglia input nuclei of MPTP-treated animals. These observed increases in CB1-GPR55_Hets returned back to baseline levels upon chronic treatment with levodopa in dyskinetic animals. Obtained data regarding CB2-GPR55_Hets were quite similar, with somehow equivalent amounts in control and dyskinetic animals, and with increased expression levels in MPTP animals. Taken together, the detected increased expression of GPR55-endocannabinoid heteromers appoints these GPCR complexes as potential non-dopaminergic targets for PD therapy.

CITATION  Brain Struct Funct. 2020 Sep;225(7):2153-2164. doi: 10.1007/s00429-020-02116-4. Epub 2020 Jul 20.