The peripheral cannabinoid receptor CB2 is expressed highly on normal human B-lymphocytes. C-terminal specific anti-CB2 antibody recognises a non-phosphorylated inactive receptor on naïve and resting B-lymphocytes. Another, N-terminal specific CB2 antibody, primarily recognises B-cells present in the germinal centres of secondary follicles in lymph nodes. We hypothesise that N-terminal specific CB2 antibody recognises activated CB2 receptors. In this study, we showed using these antibodies, that expression of CB2 is generally absent on T-lymphocytes in reactive, non-malignant human lymphoid tissues. Applying single and dual immunohistochemistry, CD23+follicular dendritic cells and a small but significant subpopulation of CD68+macrophages showed positive staining with the N-terminal specific CB2 antibody but not with the C-terminal specific CB2 antibody. This may indicate the presence of an active CB2 receptor on these cells with possible involvement in immunomodulation. In contrast to the low expression on normal T-cells, abundant levels of CB2 protein were present on T-non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHL). Moreover, in many B-NHL, high CB2 protein expression was found as well. In contrast to the distinct expression patterns in normal immune tissues using the two different CB2 antibodies, NHL specimens in general stained positively with both. We conclude that CB2 receptor expression pattern may be abnormal in NHL.

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Leukemia and Lymphoma
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Rayman, N., Lam, K., van Leeuwen, J., Mulder, A., Budel, L., Löwenberg, B., … Delwel, R. (2007). The expression of the Peripheral Cannabinoid receptor on cells of the immune system and Non-Hodgkin's lymphomas. Leukemia and Lymphoma, 48(7), 1389–1399. doi:10.1080/10428190701377030