The researchers administered its active ingredient – known as beta-caryophyllin (E-BCP) - to mice with inflamed paws. In seven out of ten cases there was a subsequent improvement in the symptoms. E-BCP might possibly be of use against disorders such as osteoporosis and arteriosclerosis. The study has appeared on Monday, 23rd June in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” (PNAS).
E-BCP is a typical ingredient of many spices and food plants. Hence it is also found in plants such as basil, rosemary, cinnamon, and black pepper. Every day, we consume up to 200 milligrams of this annular molecule.
No-one had previously realised that it can have a beneficial effect on the body. “Our results have revealed that E-BCP inhibits inflammation“, declared Professor Dr. Andreas Zimmer of the Life&Brain-Zentrum in Bonn. But that´s not all: “experiments on mice have shown that this substance is also effective against osteoporosis.”
Beta-caryophyllin docks on specific receptor structures in the cell membrane - the so-called cannabinoid-CB2 receptors, and produces a change in cell behaviour: for example, it will inhibit the cell´s production of phlogogenic signal substances. “We have used E-BCP to treat mice with paws swollen due to inflamations“, explained Dr. Jürg Gertsch of the ETH Zürich. “In up to 70 per cent of cases the swelling subsequently subsided”.
Pizza can´t make you high
Consequently, E-BCP could possibly form the basis for new drugs. One especial attraction for the pharmacological researcher is that this substance is so common in nature. But it has a further advantage in that, in contrast to other substances which affect the CB2 receptors, beta-caryophyllin does not lead to intoxication.
For this CB2 receptor has a "brother" by the name of CB1, which is best known to drug researchers. CB1 is found in the nerve cells of the brain, on which certain ingredients of the hemp plant can dock. What then happens is all too familiar to marihuana smokers.
Although CB1 and CB2 are not twins, they are nevertheless very closely related. Hence substances which stimulate CB2 often have an intoxicating effect. With E-BCP it is different, for this is the first known natural agent which binds specifically to CB2 and not CB1 – which explains why you can´t get high on pizza.
Both receptors are part of the so-called endocannabinoid system, which researchers are finding to be of increasing significance for a variety of disorders. If this system gets out of control it can result in cardiac disorders, allergies and chronic pain, or it could even affect the memory. “Endocannabinoids are formed by the body itself and maintain its equilibrium” explains Professor Zimmer. So in the case of an inflammation they act like a brake, preventing the immune system from over-reacting to the extent that its defensive reaction runs amok.
E-BCP might also help us to control such chronic disorders as Chrone´s disease – an inflammation of the intestinal tract. “This compound could become an important dietary factor for inhibiting such diseases of modern civilisation”, surmises Dr. Jürg Gertsch. However, anyone who in future spices all his food with oregano will not necessarily be any the healthier for it. “The endocannabinoid system comes into play when the equilibrium of the metabolic processes has been destroyed“, declares Professor Zimmer. “It is similar to the antidepressants in that, although they help for depressions, they don´t do anything to brighten the mood of a healthy person”.
Electrical 'switch' in brain's capillary network monitors activity and controls blood flow
27.03.2017 | Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont
Laser activated gold pyramids could deliver drugs, DNA into cells without harm
24.03.2017 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences