G protein coupled receptor 18: a potential role for endocannabinoid signaling in metabolic dysfunction

Gayathri Rajaraman, Anna Simcocks, Deanne H Hryciw, Dana S. Hutchinson, Andrew J McAinch

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Endocannabinoids are products of dietary fatty acids that are modulated by an alteration in food intake levels. Overweight and obese individuals have substantially higher circulating levels of the arachidonic acid derived endocannabinoids, anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol, and show an altered pattern of cannabinoid receptor expression. These cannabinoid receptors are part of a large family of G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). GPCRs are major therapeutic targets for various diseases within the cardiovascular, neurological, gastrointestinal, and endocrine systems, as well as metabolic disorders such as obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Obesity is considered a state of chronic low-grade inflammation elicited by an immunological response. Interestingly, the newly deorphanized GPCR (GPR18), which is considered to be a putative cannabinoid receptor, is proposed to have an immunological function. In this review, the current scientific knowledge on GPR18 is explored including its localization, signaling pathways, and pharmacology. Importantly, the involvement of nutritional factors and potential dietary regulation of GPR18 and its (patho)physiological roles are described. Further research on this receptor and its regulation will enable a better understanding of the complex mechanisms of GPR18 and its potential as a novel therapeutic target for treating metabolic disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-102
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Nutrition & Food Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Diabetes
  • Endocannabinoids
  • G protein coupled receptor
  • GPR18
  • Obesity

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