The existence of the endocannabinoid system, part of the body’s onboard cell signaling network, is known to extend to the retina in species ranging from primates to fish. It has been shown to function in visual processing there. Recent work has examined its possible role in retinal neurodegeneration and neuroprotection.
Glaucoma is characterized by ischemia-induced excitotoxicity, loss of retinal neurons, and raised intraocular pressure. Experimental evidence is beginning to suggest that some cannabinoids may be neuroprotective in glaucoma, where, possibly by unrelated mechanisms of action, they can reduce retinal ganglion cell loss and lower intraocular pressure.
Much needs to be learned about the components of the endocannabinoid system, their tissue specific expression, and their functional role in the ocular system. It is hoped that novel therapeutic strategies, such as allosteric modulation and inhibition of endocannabinoid breakdown, may enhance the therapeutic effects that can appear to come with direct administration of cannabinoids.
Studies so far support the involvement of the endocannabinoids AEA and 2-AG and some synthetic cannabinoids at early and late stages of ischemia. The pharmacological profile of these agents suggests that they target the neurodegenerative and proapoptotic components of retinal disease.
AM7410 is another reasonably potent and efficacious therapeutic agent. Functioning as an agonist at CB1 in neurons, it lowers intraocular pressure substantially (up to 30%), for as long as 5 hours after a single topical treatment. This effect is absent in CB1 knockout mice. That means that direct targeting of CB1 receptors with controlled-deactivation ligands would seem a viable approach to lowering intraocular pressure.
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The foregoing is a report on trends and developments in the cannabinoid industry. No product described herein is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or syndrome.
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