Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Cannabigerol in Rheumatoid Arthritis Synovial Fibroblasts and Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cell Cultures Are Partly Mediated by TRPA1


“Since its medical legalization, cannabis preparations containing the major phytocannabinoids (cannabidiol (CBD) and δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)) have been used by patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) to alleviate pain and inflammation. However, minor cannabinoids such as cannabigerol (CBG) also demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties, but due to the lack of studies, they are not widely used. CBG binds several cellular target proteins such as cannabinoid and α2-adrenergic receptors, but it also ligates several members of the transient potential receptor (TRP) family with TRPA1 being the main target. TRPA1 is not only involved in nnociception, but it also protects cells from apoptosis under oxidative stress conditions. Therefore, modulation of TRPA1 signaling by CBG might be used to modulate disease activity in RA as this autoimmune disease is accompanied by oxidative stress and subsequent activation of pro-inflammatory pathways. Rheumatoid synovial fibroblasts (RASF) were stimulated or not with tumor necrosis factor (TNF) for 72 h to induce TRPA1 protein. CBG increased intracellular calcium levels in TNF-stimulated RASF but not unstimulated RASF in a TRPA1-dependent manner. In addition, PoPo3 uptake, a surrogate marker for drug uptake, was enhanced by CBG. RASF cell viability, IL-6 and IL-8 production were decreased by CBG. In peripheral blood mononuclear cell cultures (PBMC) alone or together with RASF, CBG-modulated interleukin (IL)-6, IL-10, TNF and immunoglobulin M and G production which was dependent on activation stimulus (T cell-dependent or independent). However, effects on PBMCs were only partially mediated by TRPA1 as the antagonist A967079 did inhibit some but not all effects of CBG on cytokine production. In contrast, TRPA1 antagonism even enhanced the inhibitory effects of CBG on immunoglobulin production. CBG showed broad anti-inflammatory effects in isolated RASF, PBMC and PBMC/RASF co-cultures. As CBG is non-psychotropic, it might be used as add-on therapy in RA to reduce IL-6 and autoantibody levels.”

“Therefore, CBG might be suited as an adjunct therapy for RA to reduce cytokine and autoantibody production.”

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