Cannabis use has become a hot topic in several countries due to the debate about its legalization for medical purposes. However, data are limited regarding adverse events, safety and potential impact on reproductive health. Cannabis consumption during pregnancy has been associated with gestational disorders such as preterm birth, intrauterine growth restriction, low birth weight and increased risk of miscarriage, though the underlying biochemical mechanisms are still unknown. Given that the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is involved in several reproductive processes, we tested the hypothesis that the negative outcomes may result from the impact on the ECS homeostasis caused by the main psychoactive compound of cannabis, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). We demonstrate that THC (10-40 µM) impairs placental endocannabinoid system by disrupting the endocannabinoid anandamide (AEA) levels and the expression of AEA synthetic and degrading enzymes N-arachidonoylphosphatidylethanolamine-specific phospholipase D (NAPE-PLD) and fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), respectively. Although, no alterations in cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 expression were observed. Thus, long-term local AEA levels are associated with a shift in the enzymatic profile to re-establish ECS homeostasis. In chronic cannabis users, high AEA levels in placenta may disturb the delicate balance of trophoblast cells turnover leading to alterations in normal placental development and foetal growth.


Anandamide; Endocannabinoid system; Placenta; Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol

PMID: 30659320 DOI: 10.1007/s00204-019-02389-7 ShareGrant supportGrant supportPTDC/DTP-FTO/5651/2014-POCI-01-0145-FEDER-016562/Funda??o para a Ci?ncia e a Tecnologia/LinkOut – more resourcesFull Text SourcesSpringer Supplemental Content Full text links

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