Systemic lupus erythomatosus, often simply called lupus, is a severe autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks the nucleus of cells — their genetic control center.
Problems can be expressed anywhere in the body, though rashes in the skin, joints, and vital organs are most common. Treatment of lupus generally requires intense immunosuppresive drugs, often targeting inflammatory molecules called interferons. But these drugs make a person more susceptible to other diseases. Mutations in the gene encoding ABHD6, which breaks down the endocannabinoid 2-AG, are associated with lupus. Indian researchers probed this connection, suggesting that overactivity of ABHD6 limits the body’s ability to quell its overactive response to interferons. Normally 2-AG will activate CB2 receptors on immune cells, which seems to provide a tonic inhibition of interferon release.
Read study: Cutting Edge: Dysregulated Endocannabinoid-Rheostat for Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cell Activation in a Systemic Lupus Endophenotype
Adrian Devitt-Lee is a research scientist and longtime Project CBD contributor. © Copyright, Project CBD. May not be reprinted without permission.