Cannabinoids as Regulators of Neural Development and Adult Neurogenesis

“Neurogenesis plays an indispensable role in the formation of the nervous system during development. The discovery that the adult brain still maintains neurogenic niches that allow the continued production of new cells after birth has changed the field of neuroscience. It has also opened a new venue of opportunities for the treatment of central nervous system disorders related to neuronal loss. This chapter has reviewed the studies showing that genetic or pharmacological manipulation of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) or the enzymes responsible for endocannabinoid metabolism modify/regulate cell proliferation and neurogenesis during development and in the adult brain. A better characterization of the mechanisms involved in these effects could contribute to the development of new therapeutic alternatives to neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders.”

https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-49343-5_6?fbclid=IwAR1yxGqvrq_9Zva3HLEqjh2WrNRTxPN6Hy_IO8l2IN8v9BCNBG2jDks9N1w

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Anti-neuroinflammatory effects of GPR55 antagonists in LPS-activated primary microglial cells.

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“Neuroinflammation plays a vital role in Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions.

The orphan G-protein-coupled receptor 55 (GPR55) has been reported to modulate inflammation and is expressed in immune cells such as monocytes and microglia.

Targeting GPR55 might be a new therapeutic option to treat neurodegenerative diseases with a neuroinflammatory background such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson, and multiple sclerosis (MS).”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30453998

https://jneuroinflammation.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12974-018-1362-7

“Pharmacological characterization of GPR55, a putative cannabinoid receptor.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20298715

“Our findings also suggest that GPR55 may be a new pharmacological target for the following C. sativa constituents: Δ9-THCV, CBDV, CBGA, and CBGV. These Cannabis sativa constituents may represent novel therapeutics targeting GPR55.”  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249141/

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Activation of GPR55 induces neuroprotection of hippocampal neurogenesis and immune responses of neural stem cells following chronic, systemic inflammation.

Brain, Behavior, and Immunity

“New neurons are continuously produced by neural stem cells (NSCs) within the adult hippocampus. Numerous diseases, including major depressive disorder and HIV-1 associated neurocognitive disorder, are associated with decreased rates of adult neurogenesis. A hallmark of these conditions is a chronic release of neuroinflammatory mediators by activated resident glia.

Recent studies have shown a neuroprotective role on NSCs of cannabinoid receptor activation. Yet, little is known about the effects of GPR55, a candidate cannabinoid receptor, activation on reductions of neurogenesis in response to inflammatory insult.

In the present study, we examined NSCs exposed to IL-1β in vitro to assess inflammation-caused effects on NSC differentiation and the ability of GPR55 agonists to attenuate NSC injury.

Taken together, these results suggest a neuroprotective role of GPR55 activation on NSCs in vitro and in vivo and that GPR55 provides a novel therapeutic target against negative regulation of hippocampal neurogenesis by inflammatory insult.”

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Cannabis Therapeutics and the Future of Neurology.

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“Neurological therapeutics have been hampered by its inability to advance beyond symptomatic treatment of neurodegenerative disorders into the realm of actual palliation, arrest or reversal of the attendant pathological processes.

While cannabis-based medicines have demonstrated safety, efficacy and consistency sufficient for regulatory approval in spasticity in multiple sclerosis (MS), and in Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut Syndromes (LGS), many therapeutic challenges remain.

This review will examine the intriguing promise that recent discoveries regarding cannabis-based medicines offer to neurological therapeutics by incorporating the neutral phytocannabinoids tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), their acidic precursors, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), and cannabis terpenoids in the putative treatment of five syndromes, currently labeled recalcitrant to therapeutic success, and wherein improved pharmacological intervention is required: intractable epilepsy, brain tumors, Parkinson disease (PD), Alzheimer disease (AD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI)/chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

Current basic science and clinical investigations support the safety and efficacy of such interventions in treatment of these currently intractable conditions, that in some cases share pathological processes, and the plausibility of interventions that harness endocannabinoid mechanisms, whether mediated via direct activity on CB1 and CB2 (tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, caryophyllene), peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPARγ; THCA), 5-HT1A (CBD, CBDA) or even nutritional approaches utilizing prebiotics and probiotics.

The inherent polypharmaceutical properties of cannabis botanicals offer distinct advantages over the current single-target pharmaceutical model and portend to revolutionize neurological treatment into a new reality of effective interventional and even preventative treatment.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30405366

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnint.2018.00051/full

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Anandamide Effects in a Streptozotocin-Induced Alzheimer’s Disease-Like Sporadic Dementia in Rats.

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“Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by multiple cognitive deficits including memory and sensorimotor gating impairments as a result of neuronal and synaptic loss.

The endocannabinoid system plays an important role in these deficits but little is known about its influence on the molecular mechanism regarding phosphorylated tau (p-tau) protein accumulation – one of the hallmarks of AD -, and on the density of synaptic proteins.

Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the preventive effects of anandamide (N-arachidonoylethanolamine, AEA) on multiple cognitive deficits and on the levels of synaptic proteins (syntaxin 1, synaptophysin and synaptosomal-associated protein, SNAP-25), cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) and molecules related to p-tau degradation machinery (heat shock protein 70, HSP70), and Bcl2-associated athanogene (BAG2) in an AD-like sporadic dementia model in rats using intracerebroventricular (icv) injection of streptozotocin (STZ).

This study showed, for the first time, that the administration of an endocannabinoid can prevent AD-like effects induced by STZ, boosting further investigations about the modulation of endocannabinoid levels as a therapeutic approach for AD.”

“Altogether, our results showed, for the first time, that the administration of an endocannabinoid can prevent cognitive, synaptic and histopatological AD-like alterations induced by STZ, thus prompting endocannabinoids as a candidate therapeutic target in AD.”  https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnins.2018.00653/full
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A systematic review on the neuroprotective perspectives of beta-caryophyllene.

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“Beta (β)-caryophyllene (BCAR) is a major sesquiterpene of various plant essential oils reported for several important pharmacological activities, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, cardioprotective, hepatoprotective, gastroprotective, nephroprotective, antimicrobial, and immune-modulatory activity. Recent studies suggest that it also possesses neuroprotective effect.

This study reviews published reports pertaining to the neuropharmacological activities of BCAR. Databases such as PubMed, Scopus, MedLine Plus, and Google Scholar with keywords “beta (β)-caryophyllene” and other neurological keywords were searched. Data were extracted by referring to articles with information about the dose or concentration/route of administration, test system, results and discussion, and proposed mechanism of action.

A total of 545 research articles were recorded, and 41 experimental studies were included in this review, after application of exclusion criterion. Search results suggest that BCAR exhibits a protective role in a number of nervous system-related disorders including pain, anxiety, spasm, convulsion, depression, alcoholism, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Additionally, BCAR has local anesthetic-like activity, which could protect the nervous system from oxidative stress and inflammation and can act as an immunomodulatory agent. Most neurological activities of this natural product have been linked with the cannabinoid receptors (CBRs), especially the CB2R. This review suggests a possible application of BCAR as a neuroprotective agent.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30281175

“β-caryophyllene (BCP) is a common constitute of the essential oils of numerous spice, food plants and major component in Cannabis.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23138934

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Cannabidiol enhances morphine antinociception, diminishes NMDA-mediated seizures and reduces stroke damage via the sigma 1 receptor.

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“Cannabidiol (CBD), the major non-psychotomimetic compound present in the Cannabis sativa plant, exhibits therapeutic potential for various human diseases, including chronic neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, ischemic stroke, epilepsy and other convulsive syndromes, neuropsychiatric disorders, neuropathic allodynia and certain types of cancer.

CBD does not bind directly to endocannabinoid receptors 1 and 2, and despite research efforts, its specific targets remain to be fully identified. Notably, sigma 1 receptor (σ1R) antagonists inhibit glutamate N-methyl-D-aspartate acid receptor (NMDAR) activity and display positive effects on most of the aforesaid diseases. Thus, we investigated the effects of CBD on three animal models in which NMDAR overactivity plays a critical role: opioid analgesia attenuation, NMDA-induced convulsive syndrome and ischemic stroke.

In an in vitro assay, CBD disrupted the regulatory association of σ1R with the NR1 subunit of NMDAR, an effect shared by σ1R antagonists, such as BD1063 and progesterone, and prevented by σ1R agonists, such as 4-IBP, PPCC and PRE084. The in vivo administration of CBD or BD1063 enhanced morphine-evoked supraspinal antinociception, alleviated NMDA-induced convulsive syndrome, and reduced the infarct size caused by permanent unilateral middle cerebral artery occlusion.

These positive effects of CBD were reduced by the σ1R agonists PRE084 and PPCC, and absent in σ1R-/- mice. Thus, CBD displays antagonist-like activity toward σ1R to reduce the negative effects of NMDAR overactivity in the abovementioned experimental situations.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30223868

https://molecularbrain.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13041-018-0395-2

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Cannabinoid 1 Receptor Signaling on Hippocampal GABAergic Neurons Influences Microglial Activity.

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“Microglia, the resident immune cells of the brain, play important roles in defending the brain against pathogens and supporting neuronal circuit plasticity. Chronic or excessive pro-inflammatory responses of microglia damage neurons, therefore their activity is tightly regulated.

Pharmacological and genetic studies revealed that cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptor activity influences microglial activity, although microglial CB1 receptor expression is very low and activity-dependent. The CB1 receptor is mainly expressed on neurons in the central nervous system (CNS)-with an especially high level on GABAergic interneurons.

Here, we determined whether CB1 signaling on this neuronal cell type plays a role in regulating microglial activity.

Our result suggests that CB1 receptor agonists can modulate microglial activity indirectly, through CB1 receptors on GABAergic neurons.

Altogether, we demonstrated that GABAergic neurons, despite their relatively low density in the hippocampus, have a specific role in the regulation of microglial activity and cannabinoid signaling plays an important role in this arrangement.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30210289

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnmol.2018.00295/full

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Antiapoptotic effects of cannabidiol in an experimental model of cognitive decline induced by brain iron overload.

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“Iron accumulation in the brain has been recognized as a common feature of both normal aging and neurodegenerative diseases. Cognitive dysfunction has been associated to iron excess in brain regions in humans. We have previously described that iron overload leads to severe memory deficits, including spatial, recognition, and emotional memory impairments in adult rats.

In the present study we investigated the effects of neonatal iron overload on proteins involved in apoptotic pathways, such as Caspase 8, Caspase 9, Caspase 3, Cytochrome c, APAF1, and PARP in the hippocampus of adult rats, in an attempt to establish a causative role of iron excess on cell death in the nervous system, leading to memory dysfunction.

Cannabidiol (CBD), the main non-psychotropic component of Cannabis sativa, was examined as a potential drug to reverse iron-induced effects on the parameters analyzed.

These results suggest that iron can trigger cell death pathways by inducing intrinsic apoptotic proteins. The reversal of iron-induced effects by CBD indicates that it has neuroprotective potential through its anti-apoptotic action.”

“In summary, we have shown that iron treatment in the neonatal period disrupts the apoptotic intrinsic pathway. This finding may place iron excess as a central component in neurodegenerative processes since many neurodegenerative disorders are accompanied by iron accumulation in brain regions. Moreover, indiscriminate iron supplementation to toddlers and infants, modeled here by iron overload in the neonatal period, has been considered a potential environmental risk factor for the development of neurodegenerative disorders later in life. Our findings also strongly suggest that CBD has neuroprotective effects, at least in part by blocking iron-induced apoptosis even at later stages, following iron overload, which puts CBD as a potential therapeutic agent in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.”
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Cannabinoid pharmacology/therapeutics in chronic degenerative disorders affecting the central nervous system.

 Biochemical Pharmacology “The endocannabinoid system (ECS) exerts a modulatory effect of important functions such as neurotransmission, glial activation, oxidative stress, or protein homeostasis.

Dysregulation of these cellular processes is a common neuropathological hallmark in aging and in neurodegenerative diseases of the central nervous system (CNS). The broad spectrum of actions of cannabinoids allows targeting different aspects of these multifactorial diseases.

In this review, we examine the therapeutic potential of the ECS for the treatment of chronic neurodegenerative diseases of the CNS focusing on Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

First, we describe the localization of the molecular components of the ECS and how they are altered under neurodegenerative conditions, either contributing to or protecting cells from degeneration.

Second, we address recent advances in the modulation of the ECS using experimental models through different strategies including the direct targeting of cannabinoid receptors with agonists or antagonists, increasing the endocannabinoid tone by the inhibition of endocannabinoid hydrolysis, and activation of cannabinoid receptor-independent effects.

Preclinical evidence indicates that cannabinoid pharmacology is complex but supports the therapeutic potential of targeting the ECS.

Third, we review the clinical evidence and discuss the future perspectives on how to bridge human and animal studies to develop cannabinoid-based therapies for each neurodegenerative disorder.

Finally, we summarize the most relevant opportunities of cannabinoid pharmacology related to each disease and the multiple unexplored pathways in cannabinoid pharmacology that could be useful for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30121249

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S000629521830337X

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