Lupus and ABHD6

Some recent highlights and curiosities from the amazing world of cannabis science and therapeutics.
By Adrian Devitt-Lee On February 24, 2019

Systemic lupus erythomatosus, often simply called lupus, is a severe autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks the nucleus of cells — their genetic control center. Problems can be expressed anywhere in the body, though rashes in the skin, joints, and vital organs are most common. Treatment of lupus generally requires intense immunosuppresive drugs, often targeting inflammatory molecules called interferons. But these drugs make a person more susceptible to other diseases. Mutations in the gene encoding ABHD6, which breaks down the endocannabinoid 2-AG, are associated with lupus. Indian researchers probed this connection, suggesting that overactivity of ABHD6 limits the body’s ability to quell its overactive response to interferons. Normally 2-AG will activate CB2 receptors on immune cells, which seems to provide a tonic inhibition of interferon release.

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Adrian Devitt-Lee, Project CBD's chief science writer, is employed as a research chemist by the University College of London.