Lipid rafts: a nexus for endocannabinoid signaling?


The endocannabinoids are endogenous agonists of the cannabinoid receptors and some members of the transient receptor potential, vanilloid type (TRPV), family of cation channels. Endocannabinoids along with their target receptors comprise a signaling system that is not well characterized. There have been many advances in our collective understanding of endocannabinoid signaling in the last decade and experimental evidence is mounting that pharmacological augmentation of endocannabinoid tone might have a significant therapeutic benefit in several disease states. However, the mechanisms responsible for the biosynthesis, cellular uptake, and intracellular processing of endocannabinoids are not well understood and have been the source of much debate. Recent studies have revealed a role for detergent insoluble membrane domains called lipid rafts in various aspects of signaling associated with the endocannabinoid anandamide. Intact detergent insoluble membrane domains appear to play a role in an anandamide-induced signaling cascade that is independent of G protein-coupled cannabinoid receptors or TRPV channels. Furthermore, detergent insoluble membrane domain-related endocytosis and recycling to lipid rafts appear to regulate the organization and localization of anandamide metabolites. We will discuss the implications that these findings have on the way we view endocannabinoid signaling, trafficking, and processing.

Cite this paper

@article{McFarland2005LipidRA, title={Lipid rafts: a nexus for endocannabinoid signaling?}, author={Matthew J. McFarland and Eric L. Barker}, journal={Life sciences}, year={2005}, volume={77 14}, pages={1640-50} }