Cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2), whose activities are upregulated during sepsis, may be related to the regulation of inflammatory programmed cell death called pyroptosis. The aim of this study is to investigate the role of CB2 activation in attenuation of inflammation through inhibiting pyroptosis in cecal ligation puncture (CLP)-induced sepsis andlipopolysaccharide (LPS) + ATP-stimulated macrophages.
C57BL/6 mice were subjected to CLP procedure and treated with CB2 agonist HU308 and CB2 antagonist AM630. Lung tissues were collected for analyses of lung W/D ratio, inflammatory factors levels, and pyroptosis-related protein expression. Murine bone-marrow-derived macrophages (BMDM) were treated with LPS and ATP to construct a septic model in vitro in the presence of HU308 and AM630 for assessment of cell injury, cytokine levels and pyroptosis-related protein expression accordingly. To verify the relationship between CB2 receptors and pyroptosis in the process of inflammatory response, BMDM were transduced with CB2 receptors knockdown lentiviral vectors in the presence of HU308 and AM630 for assessment of pyroptosis-related protein expression.
CB2 activation ameliorated the release of inflammatory mediators. The results showed that CLP-induced pyroptosis was elevated, and CB2 agonist HU308 treatment inhibited the pyroptosis activity through a decrease of the protein levels of NLRP3 as well as caspase-1 and GSDMD activation. Similar results were obtained in BMDM after LPS and ATP treatment. Treatment with CB2 knockdown lentiviral particles prevented the HU308-induced decreases in cell pyroptosis, demonstrating that endogenous CB2 receptors are required for the cannabinoid-induced cell protection.
CB2 receptors activation plays a protective role in sepsis through inhibition of pyroptosis. The effect of CB2 receptors against pyroptosis depends on the existence of endogenous CB2 receptors.

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