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”.
Researchers release the brakes on the immune system
18.10.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
Norovirus evades immune system by hiding out in rare gut cells
12.10.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
20.10.2017 | Information Technology
20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research