Joseph Tam

Reem Smoum, Christeene Haj, Shira Hirsch, Alina Nemirovski, Zhannah Yekhtin, Benny Bogoslavsky, Gaganjyot Kaur Bakshi, Mukesh Chourasia, Ruth Gallily, Joseph Tam, and Raphael Mechoulam. 2022. “Fenchone Derivatives as a Novel Class of CB2 Selective Ligands: Design, Synthesis, X-ray Structure and Therapeutic Potential.” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 27, 4. Abstract
A series of novel cannabinoid-type derivatives were synthesized by the coupling of (1S,4R)-(+) and (1R,4S)-(-)-fenchones with various resorcinols/phenols. The fenchone-resorcinol derivatives were fluorinated using Selectfluor and demethylated using sodium ethanethiolate in dimethylformamide (DMF). The absolute configurations of four compounds were determined by X-ray single crystal diffraction. The fenchone-resorcinol analogs possessed high affinity and selectivity for the CB2 cannabinoid receptor. One of the analogues synthesized, 2-(2',6'-dimethoxy-4'-(2″-methyloctan-2″-yl)phenyl)-1,3,3-trimethylbicyclo[2.2.1]heptan-2-ol (1d), had a high affinity (K(i) = 3.51 nM) and selectivity for the human CB2 receptor (hCB2). In the [(35)S]GTP$\gamma$S binding assay, our lead compound was found to be a highly potent and efficacious hCB2 receptor agonist (EC(50) = 2.59 nM, E((max)) = 89.6%). Two of the fenchone derivatives were found to possess anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Molecular-modeling studies elucidated the binding interactions of 1d within the CB2 binding site.
Joshua Stokar, Irina Gurt, Einav Cohen-Kfir, Oran Yakubovsky, Noa Hallak, Hadar Benyamini, Natan Lishinsky, Neta Offir, Joseph Tam, and Rivka Dresner-Pollak. 2022. “Hepatic adropin is regulated by estrogen and contributes to adverse metabolic phenotypes in ovariectomized mice.” Molecular metabolism, 60, Pp. 101482. Abstract
{OBJECTIVE: Menopause is associated with visceral adiposity, hepatic steatosis and increased risk for cardiovascular disease. As estrogen replacement therapy is not suitable for all postmenopausal women, a need for alternative therapeutics and biomarkers has emerged. METHODS: 9-week-old C57BL/6 J female mice were subjected to ovariectomy (OVX) or SHAM surgery (n = 10 per group), fed a standard diet and sacrificed 6- & 12 weeks post-surgery. RESULTS: Increased weight gain, hepatic triglyceride content and changes in hepatic gene expression of Cyp17a1, Rgs16, Fitm1 as well as Il18, Rares2, Retn, Rbp4 in mesenteric visceral adipose tissue (VAT) were observed in OVX vs. SHAM. Liver RNA-sequencing 6-weeks post-surgery revealed changes in genes and microRNAs involved in fat metabolism in OVX vs. SHAM mice. Energy Homeostasis Associated gene (Enho) coding for the hepatokine adropin was significantly reduced in OVX mice livers and strongly inversely correlated with weight gain (r = -0.7 p < 0.001) and liver triglyceride content (r = -0.4
Lishay Parhi, Jawad Abed, Amjad Shhadeh, Tamar Alon-Maimon, Shiran Udi, Shani Leviatan Ben-Arye, Joseph Tam, Oren Parnas, Vered Padler-Karavani, Debra Goldman-Wohl, Simcha Yagel, Ofer Mandelboim, and Gilad Bachrach. 2022. “Placental colonization by Fusobacterium nucleatum is mediated by binding of the Fap2 lectin to placentally displayed Gal-GalNAc.” Cell reports, 38, 12, Pp. 110537. Abstract
While the existence of an indigenous placental microbiota remains controversial, several pathogens are known to be involved in adverse pregnancy outcomes. Fusobacterium nucleatum is an oral bacterium that is one of several bacteria associated with preterm birth. Oral fusobacteria translocate to the placenta hematogenously; however, the mechanisms localizing them to the placenta remain unclear. Here, using peanut agglutinin, we demonstrate that the level of Gal-GalNAc (Gal$\beta$1-3GalNAc; Thomsen Friedenreich antigen) found on trophoblasts facing entering maternal blood rises during gestation and is recognized by the fusobacterial Fap2 Gal-GalNAc lectin. F. nucleatum binding to human and mouse placenta correlates with Gal-GalNAc levels and is reduced upon O-glycanase treatment or with soluble Gal-GalNAc. Fap2-inactivated F. nucleatum shows reduced binding to Gal-GalNAc-displaying placental sections. In a mouse model, intravenously injected Fap2-expressing F. nucleatum, but not a Fap2 mutant, reduces mouse fetal survival by 70%.
Liad Hinden, Majdoleen Ahmad, Sharleen Hamad, Alina Nemirovski, Gergő Szanda, Sandra Glasmacher, Aviram Kogot-Levin, Rinat Abramovitch, Bernard Thorens, Jürg Gertsch, Gil Leibowitz, and Joseph Tam. 2022. “Opposite physiological and pathological mTORC1-mediated roles of the CB1 receptor in regulating renal tubular function.” Nature communications, 13, 1, Pp. 1783. Abstract
Activation of the cannabinoid-1 receptor (CB(1)R) and the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) in the renal proximal tubular cells (RPTCs) contributes to the development of diabetic kidney disease (DKD). However, the CB(1)R/mTORC1 signaling axis in the kidney has not been described yet. We show here that hyperglycemia-induced endocannabinoid/CB(1)R stimulation increased mTORC1 activity, enhancing the transcription of the facilitative glucose transporter 2 (GLUT2) and leading to the development of DKD in mice; this effect was ameliorated by specific RPTCs ablation of GLUT2. Conversely, CB(1)R maintained the normal activity of mTORC1 by preventing the cellular excess of amino acids during normoglycemia. Our findings highlight a novel molecular mechanism by which the activation of mTORC1 in RPTCs is tightly controlled by CB(1)R, either by enhancing the reabsorption of glucose and inducing kidney dysfunction in diabetes or by preventing amino acid uptake and maintaining normal kidney function in healthy conditions.
Gitit Kra, Jayasimha Rayalu Daddam, Uzi Moallem, Hadar Kamer, Majdoleen Ahmad, Alina Nemirovski, Andres G Contreras, Joseph Tam, and Maya Zachut. 2022. “Effects of Environmental Heat Load on Endocannabinoid System Components in Adipose Tissue of High Yielding Dairy Cows.” Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 12, 6. Abstract
{Environmental heat load (HL) adversely affects the performance of dairy cows. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) regulates metabolism and the stress response, thus we hypothesized that HL may affect the ECS of dairy cows. Our objective was to determine the levels of endocannabinoids (eCBs) and gene and protein expressions of the ECS components in adipose tissue (AT) and plasma of early postpartum (PP) and late-lactation cows. In addition, we examined eCBs in milk, and studied the interaction of eCBs with bovine cannabinoids receptors CB1 and CB2. In the first experiment, plasma and AT were sampled from cows calving during summer (S
Samir Abu-Gazala, Michael Bergel, Yhara Arad, Liron Hefetz, Shira Azulai, Aaron Baker, Arnon Haran, Hadar Israeli, Doron Kleiman, Itia Samuel, Uria Tsubary, Anna Permyakova, Joseph Tam, Rachel Ben-Haroush Schyr, and Danny Ben-Zvi. 2022. “Generation and characterization of a mouse model for one anastomosis gastric bypass surgery.” American journal of physiology. Endocrinology and metabolism, 322, 5, Pp. E414–E424. Abstract
One anastomosis gastric bypass (OAGB) surgery became a common bariatric procedure in recent years. In this surgery, the distal stomach, duodenum, and proximal jejunum are bypassed, leading to weight loss, improvement in metabolic parameters, and a change in hormonal secretion. We sought to generate and characterize a mouse model for OAGB. Mice fed for 26 wk on a high-fat diet were assigned to OAGB, sham surgery, or caloric restriction and were followed for 50 more days on a high-fat diet. Physiological and histological parameters of the mice were compared during and at the end of the experiment. OAGB-operated mice lost weight and displayed low levels of plasma lipids, high insulin sensitivity, and rapid glucose metabolism compared with sham-operated mice. OAGB-operated mice had higher energy expenditure, higher levels of glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1), and lower albumin than weight-matched calorie-restricted mice. There was no difference in the histology of the endocrine pancreas. The livers of OAGB mice had little hepatic steatosis yet presented with a large number of phagocytic cells. The OAGB mouse model recapitulates many of the phenotypes described in patients that underwent OAGB and enables molecular and physiological studies on the outcome of this surgery.NEW & NOTEWORTHY A mouse model for one anastomosis gastric bypass (OAGB) surgery displays similar outcomes to clinical reports and enables to study the weight loss-dependent and -independent effects of this bariatric surgery.
Bitya Raphael-Mizrahi, Malka Attar-Namdar, Mukesh Chourasia, Maria G Cascio, Avital Shurki, Joseph Tam, Moshe Neuman, Neta Rimmerman, Zvi Vogel, Arie Shteyer, Roger G Pertwee, Andreas Zimmer, Natalya M Kogan, Itai Bab, and Yankel Gabet. 2022. “Osteogenic growth peptide is a potent anti-inflammatory and bone preserving hormone via cannabinoid receptor type 2.” eLife, 11. Abstract
The endocannabinoid system consists mainly of 2-arachidonoylglycerol and anandamide, as well as cannabinoid receptor type 1 and type 2 (CB2). Based on previous studies, we hypothesized that a circulating peptide previously identified as osteogenic growth peptide (OGP) maintains a bone-protective CB2 tone. We tested OGP activity in mouse models and cells, and in human osteoblasts. We show that the OGP effects on osteoblast proliferation, osteoclastogenesis, and macrophage inflammation in vitro, as well as rescue of ovariectomy-induced bone loss and prevention of ear edema in vivo are all abrogated by genetic or pharmacological ablation of CB2. We also demonstrate that OGP binds at CB2 and may act as both an agonist and positive allosteric modulator in the presence of other lipophilic agonists. In premenopausal women, OGP circulating levels significantly decline with age. In adult mice, exogenous administration of OGP completely prevented age-related bone loss. Our findings suggest that OGP attenuates age-related bone loss by maintaining a skeletal CB2 tone. Importantly, they also indicate the occurrence of an endogenous peptide that signals via CB2 receptor in health and disease.
Yaron Haviv, Olga Georgiev, Tal Gaver-Bracha, Sharleen Hamad, Alina Nemirovski, Rivka Hadar, Yair Sharav, Doron J Aframian, Yariv Brotman, and Joseph Tam. 2022. “Reduced Endocannabinoid Tone in Saliva of Chronic Orofacial Pain Patients.” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 27, 14. Abstract
BACKGROUND: the endocannabinoid system (ECS) participates in many physiological and pathological processes including pain generation, modulation, and sensation. Its involvement in chronic orofacial pain (OFP) in general, and the reflection of its involvement in OFP in salivary endocannabinoid (eCBs) levels in particular, has not been examined. OBJECTIVES: to evaluate the association between salivary (eCBs) levels and chronic OFP. METHODS: salivary levels of 2 eCBs, anandamide (AEA), 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), 2 endocannabinoid-like compoundsN-palmitoylethanolamine (PEA), N-oleoylethanolamine (OEA), and their endogenous precursor and breakdown product, arachidonic acid (AA), were analyzed using liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry in 83 chronic OFP patients and 43 pain-free controls. The chronic OFP patients were divided according to diagnosis into musculoskeletal, neurovascular/migraine, and neuropathic pain types. RESULTS: chronic OFP patients had lower levels of OEA (p = 0.02) and 2-AG (p = 0.01). Analyzing specific pain types revealed lower levels of AEA and OEA in the neurovascular group (p = 0.04, 0.02, respectively), and 2-AG in the neuropathic group compared to controls (p = 0.05). No significant differences were found between the musculoskeletal pain group and controls. Higher pain intensity was accompanied by lower levels of AA (p = 0.028), in neuropathic group. CONCLUSIONS: lower levels of eCBs were found in the saliva of chronic OFP patients compared to controls, specifically those with neurovascular/migraine, and neuropathic pain. The detection of changes in salivary endocannabinoids levels related to OFP adds a new dimension to our understanding of OFP mechanisms, and may have diagnostic as well as therapeutic implications for pain.
Shimrit Heiliczer, Asaf Wilensky, Tal Gaver, Olga Georgiev, Sharleen Hamad, Alina Nemirovski, Rivka Hadar, Yair Sharav, Doron J Aframian, Joseph Tam, and Yaron Haviv. 2022. “Salivary Endocannabinoid Profiles in Chronic Orofacial Pain and Headache Disorders: An Observational Study Using a Novel Tool for Diagnosis and Management.” International journal of molecular sciences, 23, 21. Abstract
The endocannabinoid system is involved in physiological and pathological processes, including pain generation, modulation, and sensation. Its role in certain types of chronic orofacial pain (OFP) has not been thoroughly examined. By exploring the profiles of specific salivary endocannabinoids (eCBs) in individuals with different types of OFP, we evaluated their use as biomarkers and the influence of clinical parameters and pain characteristics on eCB levels. The salivary levels of anandamide (AEA), 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG), and their endogenous breakdown product arachidonic acid (AA), as well as the eCB-like molecules N-palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) and N-oleoylethanolamide (OEA), were assessed in 83 OFP patients and 43 pain-free controls using liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry. Patients were grouped by diagnosis: post-traumatic neuropathy (PTN), trigeminal neuralgia (TN), temporomandibular disorder (TMD), migraine, tension-type headache (TTH), and burning mouth syndrome (BMS). Correlation analyses between a specific diagnosis, pain characteristics, and eCB levels were conducted. Significantly lower levels of 2-AG were found in the TN and TTH groups, while significantly lower PEA levels were found in the migraine group. BMS was the only group with elevated eCBs (AEA) versus the control. Significant correlations were found between levels of specific eCBs and gender, health-related quality of life (HRQoL), BMI, pain duration, and sleep awakenings. In conclusion, salivary samples exhibited signature eCBs profiles for major OFP disorders, especially migraine, TTH, TN, and BMS. This finding may pave the way for using salivary eCBs biomarkers for more accurate diagnoses and management of chronic OFP patients.
Elad Ben-Cnaan, Anna Permyakova, Shahar Azar, Shira Hirsch, Saja Baraghithy, Liad Hinden, and Joseph Tam. 2022. “The Metabolic Efficacy of a Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA) Derivative in Treating Diet- and Genetic-Induced Obesity.” International journal of molecular sciences, 23, 10. Abstract
Obesity is a global medical problem; its common form is known as diet-induced obesity (DIO); however, there are several rare genetic disorders, such as Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), that are also associated with obesity (genetic-induced obesity, GIO). The currently available therapeutics for treating DIO and GIO are very limited, and they result in only a partial improvement. Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), a constituent of Cannabis sativa, gradually decarboxylates to cannabidiol (CBD). Whereas the anti-obesity properties of CBD have been reasonably identified, our knowledge of the pharmacology of CBDA is more limited due to its instability. To stabilize CBDA, a new derivative, CBDA-O-methyl ester (HU-580, EPM301), was synthesized. The therapeutic potential of EPM301 in appetite reduction, weight loss, and metabolic improvements in DIO and GIO was tested in vivo. EPM301 (40 mg/kg/d, i.p.) successfully resulted in weight loss, increased ambulation, as well as improved glycemic and lipid profiles in DIO mice. Additionally, EPM301 ameliorated DIO-induced hepatic dysfunction and steatosis. Importantly, EPM301 (20 and 40 mg/kg/d, i.p.) effectively reduced body weight and hyperphagia in a high-fat diet-fed Magel2(null) mouse model for PWS. In addition, when given to standard-diet-fed Magel2(null) mice as a preventive treatment, EPM301 completely inhibited weight gain and adiposity. Lastly, EPM301 increased the oxidation of different nutrients in each strain. All together, EPM301 ameliorated obesity and its metabolic abnormalities in both DIO and GIO. These results support the idea to further promote this synthetic CBDA derivative toward clinical evaluation in humans.
Irena Voinsky, Yazeed Zoabi, Noam Shomron, Moria Harel, Hanoch Cassuto, Joseph Tam, Shannon Rose, Adrienne C Scheck, Mohammad A Karim, Richard E Frye, Adi Aran, and David Gurwitz. 2022. “Blood RNA Sequencing Indicates Upregulated BATF2 and LY6E and Downregulated ISG15 and MT2A Expression in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.” International journal of molecular sciences, 23, 17. Abstract
Mutations in over 100 genes are implicated in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). DNA SNPs, CNVs, and epigenomic modifications also contribute to ASD. Transcriptomics analysis of blood samples may offer clues for pathways dysregulated in ASD. To expand and validate published findings of RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) studies, we performed RNA-seq of whole blood samples from an Israeli discovery cohort of eight children with ASD compared with nine age- and sex-matched neurotypical children. This revealed 10 genes with differential expression. Using quantitative real-time PCR, we compared RNAs from whole blood samples of 73 Israeli and American children with ASD and 26 matched neurotypical children for the 10 dysregulated genes detected by RNA-seq. This revealed higher expression levels of the pro-inflammatory transcripts BATF2 and LY6E and lower expression levels of the anti-inflammatory transcripts ISG15 and MT2A in the ASD compared to neurotypical children. BATF2 was recently reported as upregulated in blood samples of Japanese adults with ASD. Our findings support an involvement of these genes in ASD phenotypes, independent of age and ethnicity. Upregulation of BATF2 and downregulation of ISG15 and MT2A were reported to reduce cancer risk. Implications of the dysregulated genes for pro-inflammatory phenotypes, immunity, and cancer risk in ASD are discussed.
Shira Hirsch, Liad Hinden, Meital Naim-Ben-David, Saja Baraghithy, Anna Permyakova, Shahar Azar, Taher Nasser, Emma Portnoy, Majd Agbaria, Alina Nemirovski, Gershon Golomb, and Joseph Tam. 2022. “Hepatic targeting of the centrally active cannabinoid 1 receptor (CB(1)R) blocker rimonabant via PLGA nanoparticles for treating fatty liver disease and diabetes.” Journal of controlled release : official journal of the Controlled Release Society. Abstract
Over-activation of the endocannabinoid/CB(1)R system is a hallmark feature of obesity and its related comorbidities, most notably type 2 diabetes (T2D), and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Although the use of drugs that widely block the CB(1)R was found to be highly effective in treating all metabolic abnormalities associated with obesity, they are no longer considered a valid therapeutic option due to their adverse neuropsychiatric side effects. Here, we describe a novel nanotechnology-based drug delivery system for repurposing the abandoned first-in-class global CB(1)R antagonist, rimonabant, by encapsulating it in polymeric nanoparticles (NPs) for effective hepatic targeting of CB(1)Rs, enabling effective treatment of NAFLD and T2D. Rimonabant-encapsulated NPs (Rimo-NPs) were mainly distributed in the liver, spleen, and kidney, and only negligible marginal levels of rimonabant were found in the brain of mice treated by iv/ip administration. In contrast to freely administered rimonabant treatment, no CNS-mediated behavioral activities were detected in animals treated with Rimo-NPs. Chronic treatment of diet-induced obese mice with Rimo-NPs resulted in reduced hepatic steatosis and liver injury as well as enhanced insulin sensitivity, which were associated with enhanced cellular uptake of the formulation into hepatocytes. Collectively, we successfully developed a method of encapsulating the centrally acting CB(1)R blocker in NPs with desired physicochemical properties. This novel drug delivery system allows hepatic targeting of rimonabant to restore the metabolic advantages of blocking CB(1)R in peripheral tissues, especially in the liver, without the negative CB(1)R-mediated neuropsychiatric side effects.
Liad Hinden, Rami Ludyansky, Sary Leidershnaider, Yoav Harris, Alina Nemirovski, Ofer N Gofrit, Joseph Tam, and Guy Hidas. 2022. “Peripheral Cannabinoid-1 Receptor Blockade Ameliorates Cystitis Severity.” Cannabis and cannabinoid research. Abstract
Background: The endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a key physiological role in bladder function and it has been suggested as a potential target for relieving lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTSs). Whereas most studies indicate that activating the ECS has some beneficial effects on the bladder, some studies imply the opposite. In this study, we investigated the therapeutic potential of peripheral cannabinoid-1 receptor (CB(1)R) blockade in a mouse model for LUTSs. Materials and Methods: To this end, we used the cyclophosphamide (CYP; 300 mg/kg, intraperitoneal)-induced cystitis model of bladder dysfunction, in which 12-week-old, female C57BL/6 mice were treated with the peripherally restricted CB(1)R antagonist, JD5037 (3 mg/kg), or vehicle for three consecutive days. Bladder dysfunction was assessed using the noninvasive voiding spot assay (VSA) as well as the bladder-to-body weight (BW) ratio and gene and protein expression levels; ECS tone was assessed at the end of the study. Results: Peripheral CB(1)R blockade significantly ameliorated the severity of CYP-induced cystitis, manifested by reduced urination events measured in the VSA and an increased bladder-to-BW ratio. Moreover, JD5037 normalized CYP-mediated bladder ECS tone imbalance by affecting both the expression of CB(1)R and the endocannabinoid levels. These effects were associated with the ability of JD5037 to reduce CYP-induced inflammatory response, manifested by a reduction in levels of the proinflammatory cytokine, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF$\alpha$), in the bladder and serum. Conclusions: Collectively, our results highlight the therapeutic relevance of peripheral CB(1)R blockade in ameliorating CYP-induced cystitis; they may further support the preclinical development and clinical use of peripherally restricted CB(1)R antagonism for treatment of LUTSs.

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