Transcription Profile and Pathway Analysis of the Endocannabinoid Receptor Inverse Agonist AM630 in the Core and Infiltrative Boundary of Human Glioblastoma Cells

Gareth Williams, David Chambers, Ruman Rahman, Francisco Molina-Holgado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: We have previously reported that the endocannabinoid receptor inverse agonist AM630 is a potent inhibitor of isocitrade dehydrogenase-1 wild-type glioblastoma (GBM) core tumour cell proliferation. To uncover the mechanism behind the anti-tumour effects we have performed a transcriptional analysis of AM630 activity both in the tumour core cells (U87) and the invasive margin cells (GIN-8), the latter representing a better proxy of post-surgical residual disease. Results: The core and invasive margin cells exhibited markedly different gene expression profiles and only the core cells had high expression of a potential AM630 target, the CB1 receptor. Both cell types had moderate expression of the HTR2B serotonin receptor, a reported AM630 target. We found that the AM630 driven transcriptional response was substantially higher in the central cells than in the invasive margin cells, with the former driving the up regulation of immune response and the down regulation of cell cycle and metastatic pathways and correlating with transcriptional responses driven by established anti-neoplastics as well as serotonin receptor antagonists. Conclusion: Our results highlight the different gene sets involved in the core and invasive margin cell lines derived from GBM and an associated marked difference in responsiveness to AM630. Our findings identify AM630 as an anti-neoplastic drug in the context of the core cells, showing a high correlation with the activity of known antiproliferative drugs. However, we reveal a key set of similarities between the two cell lines that may inform therapeutic intervention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e2049
JournalMolecules (Basel, Switzerland)
Issue number7
Early online date22 Mar 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Mar 2022


  • brain cancer
  • glioblastoma
  • CB2 cannabinoid receptor
  • gene expression

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