Activation of human platelets by 2-arachidonoylglycerol is enhanced by serotonin

Mauro Maccarrone, Monica Bari, Domenico Del Principe, Alessandro Finazzi-Agrò

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) has been shown to activate human platelets in platelet-rich plasma, by binding to a "platelet-type" cannabinoid receptor (CBPT). Here, washed human platelets were used to characterize the binding of [3H]2-AG to CBPT, showing a dissociation constant (Kd) of 140 ± 31 nM and a maximum binding (Bmax) of 122 ± 10 protein-1. Selective antagonists of both CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors inhibited this binding, which was enhanced up to ∼230% over the controls by 1 μM serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT). Human platelets were also able to bind [3H]5-HT (Kd = 79 ± 17 nM, Bmax = 14.6 ± 1.3 protein-1), and 1 μM 2-AG enhanced this binding up to ∼150%. Moreover, they were able to take up [3H]5-HT through a high affinity transporter (Michaelis-Menten constant = 22 ± 2 nM, maximum velocity = 344 ± 15 protein-1), which was not affected by 2-AG. Interestingly, 5-HT did not affect the activity of the 2-AG transporter of human platelets. Treatment of washed platelets with 1 μM 2-AG led to increased intracellular inositol-1,4,5-triphosphate (up to ∼300%) and decreased cyclic AMP (down to ∼50%). Furthermore, treatment of pre-loaded platelets with 1 μM 2-AG induced a ∼300% increase in [3H]2-AG release, according to a CBPT-dependent mechanism. Also, 1 μM 5-HT enhanced the effect of 2-AG on inositol-1,4,5-trisphosphate (∼500% of the controls), cyclic AMP (∼20%) and [3H]2-AG release (∼570%), and the latter process was shown to be partly (∼50%) involved in the 5-HT-dependent platelet activation. Taken together, reported findings represent the first demonstration that 2-AG and 5-HT can mutually reinforce their receptor binding on platelet surface, which might have therapeutic implications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)340-347
Number of pages8
JournalThrombosis and Haemostasis
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2003


  • Agonists
  • Cyclic AMP
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Inositol-1,4,5-triphosphate
  • Receptors
  • Transporters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


Dive into the research topics of 'Activation of human platelets by 2-arachidonoylglycerol is enhanced by serotonin'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this