Background and purpose:
The endocannabinoid virodhamine is a partial agonist at the cannabinoid CB1 receptor and a full agonist at the CB2 receptor, and relaxes rat mesenteric arteries through endothelial cannabinoid receptors. Its concentration in the periphery exceeds that of the endocannabinoid anandamide. Here, we examined the influence of virodhamine on the human pulmonary artery.
Isolated human pulmonary arteries were obtained during resections for lung carcinoma. Vasorelaxant effects of virodhamine were examined on endothelium-intact vessels precontracted with 5-HT or KCl.
Virodhamine, unlike WIN 55,212-2, relaxed 5-HT-precontracted vessels concentration dependently. The effect of virodhamine was reduced by endothelium denudation, two antagonists of the endothelial cannabinoid receptor, cannabidiol and O-1918, and a high concentration of the CB1 receptor antagonist rimonabant (5 μm), but only slightly attenuated by the NOS inhibitor l-NAME and not affected by a lower concentration of rimonabant (100 nm) or by the CB2 and vanilloid receptor antagonists SR 144528 and capsazepine, respectively. The COX inhibitor indomethacin and the fatty acid amide hydrolase inhibitor URB597 and combined administration of selective blockers of small (apamin) and intermediate and large (charybdotoxin) conductance Ca2+-activated K+ channels attenuated virodhamine-induced relaxation. The vasorelaxant potency of virodhamine was lower in KCl- than in 5-HT-precontracted preparations.
Conclusions and implications:
Virodhamine relaxes the human pulmonary artery through the putative endothelial cannabinoid receptor and indirectly through a COX-derived vasorelaxant prostanoid formed from the virodhamine metabolite, arachidonic acid. One or both of these mechanisms may stimulate vasorelaxant Ca2+-activated K+channels.
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