In the last decades, the cannabinoid system (comprising synthetic and endogenous cannabinoid agonists and antagonists,
their receptors and degrading enzymes) has been shown to induce potent immunomodulatory activities in
atherogenesis and acute ischemic complications. Different from the other cannabinoid receptors in which controversial results
are reported, the selective activation of the cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2) has been shown to play antiinflammatory
and protective actions within atherosclerotic vessels and downstream ischemic peripheral organs. CB2 is a
transmembrane receptor that triggers protective intracellular pathways in cardiac, immune and vascular cells in both human
and animal models of atherosclerosis. Considering basic research data, medications activating CB2 function in the
circulation or peripheral target organs might be a promising approach against atherogenesis. This review updates evidence
from preclinical studies on different CB2-triggered pathways in atherosclerosis and acute ischemic events.
Keywords: Atherosclerosis, cannabinoids, CB2, ischemia/reperfusion injury, ischemic stroke.
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