2-arachidonoylglycerol effects in cytotrophoblasts: metabolic enzymes expression and apoptosis in BeWo cells.Reproduction. 2014 Mar; 147(3):301-11.R
The major endocannabinoid (eCB) 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) is a member of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) that participates in cell proliferation and apoptosis, important events for the homoeostasis of biological systems. The formation of placenta is one of the most important stages of pregnancy and its development requires highly regulated proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis of trophoblasts. Anomalies in these processes are associated with gestational pathologies. In this work, we aimed to study the involvement of 2-AG in cytotrophoblast cell turnover. We found that 2-AG biosynthetic (diacylglycerol lipase A) and degradative (monoacylglycerol lipase) enzymes are expressed in human cytotrophoblasts and in BeWo cells. We also found that 2-AG induces a decrease in cell viability in a time- and concentration-dependent manner and exerts antiproliferative effects. The loss of cell viability induced by a 48-h treatment with 2-AG (10 μM) was accompanied by chromatin fragmentation and condensation, morphological features of apoptosis. Additionally, 2-AG induced an increase in caspase 3/7 and 9 activities, a loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (Δψm) and an increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS)/reactive nitrogen species (RNS) generation, suggesting the activation of the mitochondrial pathway. Moreover, whereas Δψm loss and ROS/RNS generation were significantly attenuated by the antagonists of both the cannabinoid receptors 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2), the increase in caspase 3/7 and 9 activities and loss of cell viability were reversed only by the antagonist of CB2 receptor; the blockage of the eCB membrane transporter and the depletion of cholesterol failed to reverse the effects of 2-AG. Therefore, this work supports the importance of cannabinoid signalling during cytotrophoblast cell turnover and that its deregulation may be responsible for altered placental development and poor pregnancy outcomes.