Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology
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Year : 2006  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 36-37

Endocannabinoids and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis


Department of Liver Transplantation, Hepatobiliary & Pancreatic Surgery, King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Center (KFSH&RC), MBC: 72, PO Box: 3354, Riyadh 11211, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Ahmed Helmy
Department of Liver Transplantation, Hepatobiliary & Pancreatic Surgery, King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Center (KFSH&RC), MBC: 72, PO Box: 3354, Riyadh 11211
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1319-3767.27744

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Non alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) has gained a lot of attention recently due to the increased prevalence of diabetes, obesity, and hyperlipedemia. The endogenous compounds, endocannabinoids (ECBs), bind to the same receptors as tetrahydrocannabinol, the active component in marijuana and hashish. Recently, two G-proteins coupled, and specific receptors, to cannabinoids, CB1 & CB2, which act via adenylate cyclase and calcium channels, were described. In this brief review, we shed light on the possible relation between NASH and these proteins. It has been hypothesized that ECBs regulate peripheral lipogenesis. Some studies suggest that in CB1-deficient mice there is complete resistance to the development of dietinduced hepatic steatosis, while wild-type mice showed remarkable hepatic steatosis after 3 and 14 weeks of high-fat diet. Based on these results and others, the hepatic ECB system may be a target for the treatment of NASH. The CB1 antagonist, Rimonabant, will shortly be approved for the treatment of obesity and may thus reduce the necessity for bariatric surgery.


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