Since the identification and cloning of the cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2R), several studies focused on the characterization of its physiological and pathological role. Initially, CB2R was considered as the peripheral cannabinoid receptor due to its detection in the rat spleen and leukocyte subpopulation in humans. Later, CB2R was identified in different brain regions significantly modifying the landscape and pointing out its role in a wide variety of central physiological functions and pathological conditions. Additional research also detected the expression of CB2R in neurons, microglia, and astroglia in different brain regions. Indeed, the findings collected to date support a significant function of CB2R in anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and additional neuropsychiatric disorders. This review gathers the most relevant literature regarding new advances about the role of CB2R in a variety of neuropsychiatric conditions, with special emphasis on its potential as a new therapeutic target for the treatment of different psychiatric disorders.
The pathogenic basis behind some of the most prevalent neurodegenerative diseases in advanced societies, known as proteinopathies, deals with alterations in protein homeostasis. Despite the broad diversity of clinical symptoms, they share a remarkably common feature that is the serious neuronal loss in several disease-specific brain regions due to the presence of toxic aggregations of misfolded proteins. So far, research efforts have been insufficient to decipher the exact molecular mechanisms that trigger the conformational change from a functional healthy protein to its pathological version. This is a sine qua non condition to progress in developing new approaches and treatments for these diseases for which there is no cure. Currently, it is well accepted that perturbations in gut microbiota composition negatively impact a wide range of brain processes via the gut-brain axis which increases host susceptibility to neurodegenerative disorders. In this context, modulate the microbial ecosystem colonizing the gastrointestinal tract may be a promising therapeutic approach in the management of proteinopathies. This review aims to provide an updated view of the role that gut microbiota poses in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease, the most common neurodegenerative proteinopathies, and of the possibility of translating this knowledge into effective and safe clinical microbiota-based interventions, especially those designed to afford neuroprotection.
Early in the course of infection, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is able to enter the central nervous system where it stablishes a permanent reservoir. Current antiretroviral therapies do not efficiently cross the blood-brain barrier and therefore do not reach the HIV located in the central nervous system. Consequently, HIV infection can often be associated with neurocognitive impairment and HIV-associated dementia. The purpose of this review is to brief the reader into the world of neurological complications arising from HIV infection. Mechanisms by which HIV directly or indirectly impairs the central nervous system are discussed, as well as other factors influencing or contributing to the impairment, and the animal models currently used to perform research on the topic.
The autism spectrum disorder (ASD) comprises a series of neurological diseases that share serious alterations of the development of the central nervous system. The degree of disability may vary so that Asperger’s may have a relatively normal life and get positions of responsibility in corporations and even in Governments, whereas other ASD sufferers are fully dependent on caregivers and have serious cognitive deficits. Although the first cases of autism were detected by looking at failures in metabolism, e.g., phenylketonuria, to later identify the faulty gene, today the trend is the opposite, first obtaining the exome and minimizing the look for altered parameters in blood, urine, etc. Cholesterol is key for neural development as it is not able to cross the blood brain barrier. Therefore, any gene or environmental factor that affects cholesterol synthesis will impact early developmental stages eventually leading to a disease within the autism spectrum and/or schizophrenia. This review provides data of the relevance of cholesterol dyshomeostasis in autism spectrum disorders. Determining biochemical parameters in body fluids should help to provide new therapeutic approaches in some cases of autism.