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Pharmaceuticals 2010, 3(8), 2647-2660; doi:10.3390/ph3082647

The Potential Role of Cannabinoids in Modulating Serotonergic Signaling by Their Influence on Tryptophan Metabolism

1, 2, 1 and 2,*
1 Division of Medical Biochemistry, Biocenter, Innsbruck Medical University, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria 2 Division of Biological Chemistry, Biocenter, Innsbruck Medical University, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 13 July 2010 / Revised: 6 August 2010 / Accepted: 11 August 2010 / Published: 13 August 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cannabinoids)
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Phytocannabinoids present in Cannabis plants are well known to exert potent anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects. Previously, we have demonstrated that the psychoactive D9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and the non-psychotropic cannabidiol (CBD) modulate mitogen-induced Th1-type immune responses in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). The suppressive effect of both cannabinoids on mitogen-induced tryptophan degradation mediated by indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase (IDO), suggests an additional mechanism by which antidepressive effects of cannabinoids might be linked to the serotonergic system. Here, we will review the role of tryptophan metabolism in the course of cell mediated immune responses and the relevance of cannabinoids in serotonergic signaling. We conclude that in particular the non-psychotropic CBD might be useful for the treatment of mood disorders in patients with inflammatory diseases, since this cannabinoid seems to be safe and its effects on activation-induced tryptophan degradation by CBD were more potent as compared to THC.
Keywords: tryptophan; indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase; Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol; cannabidiol tryptophan; indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase; Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol; cannabidiol
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Jenny, M.; Schröcksnadel, S.; Überall, F.; Fuchs, D. The Potential Role of Cannabinoids in Modulating Serotonergic Signaling by Their Influence on Tryptophan Metabolism. Pharmaceuticals 2010, 3, 2647-2660.

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