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The role of the endocannabinoid system in the regulation of intestinal homeostasis

  • Hailey Cuddihey
    Affiliations
    Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

    Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

    Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
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  • Wallace K. MacNaughton
    Affiliations
    Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

    Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

    Inflammation Research Network, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

    Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
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  • Keith A. Sharkey
    Correspondence
    Author for correspondence: Dr. Keith Sharkey, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, 3330 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, AB, T2N 4N1, Canada. Phone: (587) 578-6097
    Affiliations
    Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

    Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

    Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    Search for articles by this author
Open AccessPublished:June 21, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcmgh.2022.05.015
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      Abstract

      The maintenance of intestinal homeostasis is fundamentally important to health. Intestinal barrier function and immune regulation are key determinants of intestinal homeostasis and are therefore tightly regulated by a variety of signaling mechanisms. The endocannabinoid system is a lipid mediator signaling system widely expressed in the gastrointestinal tract. Accumulating evidence suggests the endocannabinoid system is a critical nexus involved in the physiological processes that underlie the control of intestinal homeostasis. In this review we will illustrate how the endocannabinoid system is involved in regulation of intestinal permeability, fluid secretion and immune regulation. We will also demonstrate a reciprocal regulation between the endocannabinoid system and the gut microbiome. The role of the endocannabinoid system is complex and multifaceted, responding to both internal and external factors while also serving as an effector system for the maintenance of intestinal homeostasis.

      Graphical abstract

      Keywords