Alterations of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) have been recently implicated in a number of neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative conditions so that the pharmacological modulation of cannabinoid (CB) receptors and/or of the enzymes controlling synthesis, transport, and degradation of these substances has emerged as a valuable option to treat neurological diseases. Here, we describe the current knowledge concerning the rearrangement of ECS in a primarily inflammatory disorder of the central nervous system such as multiple sclerosis (MS), and in a primarily degenerative condition such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Furthermore, the data supporting a therapeutic role of agents modulating CB receptors or endocannabinoid tone in these disorders will also be reviewed. Complex changes of ECS take place in both diseases, influencing crucial aspects of their pathophysiology and clinical manifestations. Neuroinflammation, microglial activation, oxidative stress, and excitotoxicity are variably combined in MS and in ALS and can be modulated by endocannabinoids or by drugs targeting the ECS.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology