Regenerative Endodontics| Volume 47, ISSUE 10, P1617-1624, October 2021

Endocannabinoids Regulate Stem Cells of the Apical Papilla via a Cannabinoid Receptor and TRPV1-Independent Mechanism



      Endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids [eCBs]) have been shown to have a multitude of functions including neurotransmission and immune modulatory effects. This study aimed to evaluate if stem cells of the apical papilla (SCAP) express the receptors and enzymes of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and whether eCBs regulate their proliferation and mineralization potential.


      Gene expression of the main components of the ECS and transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) was evaluated in SCAP cultures. SCAP were treated with 2 concentrations of eCBs and/or capsazepine, a TRPV1 antagonist. SCAP viability was evaluated after 1, 4, and 7 days. Osteogenic differentiation was assessed after 14 days, and the gene expression of mineralization markers was assessed after 7 days.


      The enzymes of ECS and TRPV1 but not the cannabinoid receptors (cannabinoid receptors 1 and 2) were expressed in SCAP. Anandamide, 2-arachidonoylglycerol, and N-arachidonoylphenolamine (AM-404) reduced SCAP viability in all experimental periods at the highest concentration compared with the group with no treatment. Anandamide and AM-404 did not inhibit SCAP differentiation potential, but 2-arachidonoylglycerol at the highest concentration did. SCAP treated with AM-404 presented a down-regulation in gene expression of alkaline phosphatase (ALP), dentin matrix protein 1 (DMP-1), and dentin sialophosphoprotein (DSPP) compared with the proliferation medium group but not with control group.


      SCAP expressed the genes of the main components of ECS and TRPV1, and eCBs can affect SCAP viability, mineralization, and gene expression.

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