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Role seen for cannabis in helping to alleviate allergic skin disease
Date:8/16/2007

dy to a long list of neurological diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

In the article in Science, the researchers detail how the endocannabinoid system serves as a major regulator of cutaneous (skin) contact hypersensitivity (CHS) in a mouse model. In this model, they showed, for example, that mice lacking cannabinoid receptors display exacerbated inflammatory skin responses to an allergen.

Because the data indicate that enhanced activation of the endocannabinoid system may function to dampen the CHS response, the researchers administered cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a constituent derived from the cannabis plant, to the experimental animals. They findings showed that the THC significantly decreased the allergic reaction in comparison to untreated mice.

In order to better understand the molecular mechanism that may contribute to the increased CHS in cannabinoid-receptor deficient mice, the researchers performed a series of experiments which showed that mouse skin cells produce a specific chemical (a chemokine) which is involved in the annoying disease reaction. Activation of the endocannabinoid system in the skin upon exposure to a contact allergen lowers the allergic responses through modulating the production of this chemokine.

The results thus clearly show a protective role for the endocannabinoid system in contact allergy in the skin and suggest that development of cannabinoid compounds based on elements produced from the cannabis plant could enhance therapeutic treatment for humans.


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Contact: Jerry Barach
jerryb@savion.huji.ac.il
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Source:Eurekalert

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