Alleviation of Neuropathology by Inhibition of Monoacylglycerol Lipase in APP Transgenic Mice Lacking CB2 Receptors

Jian Zhang, Chu Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Inhibition of monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL), the primary enzyme that hydrolyzes the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) in the brain, produces profound anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects and improves synaptic and cognitive functions in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects produced by inhibition of 2-AG metabolism are still not clear. The cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2R) has been thought to be a therapeutic target for AD. Here, we provide evidence, however, that CB2R does not play a role in ameliorating AD neuropathology produced by inactivation of MAGL in 5XFAD APP transgenic mice, an animal model of AD. We observed that expression of APP and β-secretase as well as production of total Aβ and Aβ42 were significantly reduced in APP transgenic mice lacking CB2R (TG-CB2-KO) treated with JZL184, a selective and potent inhibitor for MAGL. Inactivation of MAGL also alleviated neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration in TG-CB2-KO mice. Importantly, TG-CB2-KO mice treated with JZL184 still exhibited improvements in spatial learning and memory. In addition, MAGL inhibition prevented deterioration in expression of important synaptic proteins in TG-CB2-KO mice. Our results suggest that CB2R is not required in ameliorating neuropathology and preventing cognitive decline by inhibition of 2-AG metabolism in AD model animals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4802-4810
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Neurobiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • 2-Arachidonoylglycerol, monoacylglycerol lipase
  • Cannabinoid receptor
  • Cyclooxygenase, arachidonic acid, prostaglandin
  • Endocannabinoid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)


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