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The cannabinoid CB2 receptor: a good friend in the gut


Address for correnpondence
Angelo A. Izzo, Endocannabinoid Research Group, Department of Experimental Pharmacology, University of Naples Federico II, Via D Montesano 49, 80131 Naples, Italy.
Tel: +39 081 678439; fax: +39 081 678403; e-mail:


Abstract  Mammalian tissues express the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptor and the cannabinoid 2 (CB2) receptor, the latter being involved in inflammation and pain. In somatic nerve pathways, the analgesic effects of CB2 agonism are well documented. Two papers published in the Journal have provided evidence that CB2 receptor activation inhibits visceral afferent nerve activity in rodents. These exciting findings are discussed in the context of recent data highlighting the emerging role of CB2 receptor as a critical target able to counteract hypermotility in pathophysiological states, gut inflammation and possibly colon cancer.