Immune-mediated liver diseases including autoimmune and viral hepatitis are a major health problem worldwide. Natural cannabinoids such as Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) effectively modulate immune cell function, and they have shown therapeutic potential in treating inflammatory diseases. We investigated the effects of THC in a murine model of concanavalin A (ConA)-induced hepatitis. Intraperitoneal administration of THC after ConA challenge inhibited hepatitis as shown by significant decrease in liver enzymes and reduced liver tissue injury.
Autoimmune hepatitis is a severe immune mediated chronic liver disease with a prevalence range between 50 and 200 cases per million in Western Europe and North America and mortality rates of up to 80% in untreated patients. The induction of CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors during liver injury and the potential involvement of endocannabinoids in the regulation of this process have sparked significant interest in further evaluating the role of cannabinoid systems during hepatic disease. Cannabinoids have been shown to possess significant immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory properties.
BACKGROUND: Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) are getting increased attention as one of the main regulatory cells of the immune system. They are induced at sites of inflammation and can potently suppress T cell functions. In the current study, we demonstrate how activation of TRPV1 vanilloid receptors can trigger MDSCs, which in turn, can inhibit inflammation and hepatitis.
Regulation and induction of anergy in NKT cells of the liver can inhibit autoimmune and antitumor responses by mechanisms that are poorly understood. We investigated the effects of PGE2, delivered by intestinal, mucus-derived, exosome-like nanoparticles (IDENs), on NKT cells in mice. In this study, we demonstrate that IDENs migrate to the liver where they induce NKT cell anergy. These effects were mediated by an IDENs' PGE2.