Endocannabinoids are well-known regulators of neurotransmission by activating the cannabinoid (CB) receptors. Endocannabinoids are being used extensively for the treatment of various neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Although endocannabinoids are well studied in cell survival, proliferation, and differentiation in various neurological disorders and several cancers, the functional role in the regulation of blood cell development is less examined. In the present study, virodhamine, which is an agonist of CB receptor-2, was used to examine its effect on megakaryocytic development from a megakaryoblastic cell. We observed that virodhamine increases cell adherence, cell size, and cytoplasmic protrusions. Interestingly, we have also observed large nucleus and increased expression of megakaryocytic marker (CD61), which are the typical hallmarks of megakaryocytic differentiation. Furthermore, the increased expression of CB2 receptor was noticed in virodhamine-induced megakaryocytic cells. The effect of virodhamine on megakaryocytic differentiation could be mediated through CB2 receptor. Therefore, we have studied virodhamine induced molecular regulation of megakaryocytic differentiation; mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activity, mitochondrial function, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production were majorly affected. The altered mitochondrial functions and ROS production is the crucial event associated with megakaryocytic differentiation and maturation. In the present study, we report that virodhamine induces megakaryocytic differentiation by triggering MAPK signaling and ROS production either through MAPK effects on ROS-generating enzymes or by the target vanilloid receptor 1-mediated regulation of mitochondrial function.
Keywords: MAPK, ROS, endocannabinoid, megakaryocyte, mitochondria, virodhamine
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