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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 502542, 7 pages
Research Article

Endocannabinoid Receptors Gene Expression in Morbidly Obese Women with Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

1Grup GEMMAIR (AGAUR) and Grup de Recerca en Medicina Aplicada, Departament de Medicina i Cirurgia, IISPV, Hospital Universitari Joan XXIII, Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV), Mallafré Guasch 4, Catalonia, 43007 Tarragona, Spain
2Servei Medicina Interna, Department of Internal Medicine, Hospital Universitari de Tarragona Joan XXIII, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Mallafré Guasch 4, Catalonia, 43007 Tarragona, Spain
3Servei Anatomia Patològica, Hospital Universitari Joan XXIII Tarragona, Mallafré Guasch 4, Catalonia, 43007 Tarragona, Spain
4Servei de Cirurgia, Hospital Sant Joan de Reus, Avenida del Dr. Josep Laporte 2, Catalonia, Tarragona, 43204 Reus, Spain

Received 20 February 2014; Accepted 28 March 2014; Published 23 April 2014

Academic Editor: Luca Miele

Copyright © 2014 Teresa Auguet et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Recent reports suggest a role for the endocannabinoid system in the pathology of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between liver expression of cannabinoid (CB) receptor subtypes, CB1 and CB2, in morbidly obese (MO) women with different histological stages of NAFLD. Methods. We analysed hepatic CB1 and CB2 mRNA expression, and the expression of genes involved in lipid metabolism in 72 MO women, subclassified by liver histology into MO with normal liver (NL, ), simple steatosis (SS, ), and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH, ) by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and RT-PCR. Results. We found that CB1 mRNA expression was significantly higher in NASH compared with SS and correlated negatively with PPARα. Regarding CB2, CB2 mRNA expression correlated positively with ACC1, PPARγ, IL6, TNFα, resistin, and adiponectin. Conclusions. The increased expression of CB1 in NASH and the negative correlation with PPARα suggest a deleterious role of CB1 in NAFLD. Regarding CB2, its positive correlation with the anti-inflammatory molecule adiponectin and, paradoxically, with inflammatory genes suggests that this receptor has a dual role. Taken together, our results suggest that endocannabinoid receptors might be involved in the pathogenesis of NAFLD, a finding which justifies further study.