The Endocannabinoid System in the Postimplantation Period: A Role during Decidualization and Placentation
Schematic cartoon portraying the apoptotic signalling pathway triggered by anandamide (AEA) in rat decidual cells. AEA binds and activates the specific G-protein-coupled cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1). The CB1 activation results in intracellular ceramide accumulation through de novo synthesis. This would lead to subsequent increase in phosphorylation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase cascade (p38-MAPK), which thus affects the mitochondrial pathway. It is followed by a drop in mitochondrial membrane potential (Δψ m), caspase-3/-7 activation, and apoptosis of decidual cells. This CB1 activation mechanism is believed to play a role in decidual cell death, thus affecting uterine remodeling processes occurring during placentation.