Endocannabinoid system and cannabinoids in neurogenesis – new opportunities for neurological treatment? Reports from experimental studies.

“Neurogenesis is one of the most important phenomenona affecting human life. This process consists of proliferation, migration and differentiation of neuroblasts and synaptic integrations of newborn neurons.
Proliferation of new cells continues into old age, also in humans, although the most extensive process of cell formation occurs during the prenatal period. It is possible to distinguish two regions in the brain responsible for neurogenesis: the dentate gyrus (DG) of the hippocampus and the sub-ventricular zone (SVZ). Hippocampal neurogenesis is very sensitive to various physiological and pathological stimuli.
The functional integration of the newly-born dentate granule cells into hippocampal circuitry, and their ability to mediate long-term potentiation in DG, has led to the hypothesis that neurogenesis in the adult brain may play a key role in learning and memory function, as well as cognitive dysfunction in some diseases.
Brain disorders, such as neurodegenerative diseases or traumatic brain injuries, significantly affect migration, proliferation and differentiation of neural cells. In searching for the best neurological drugs protecting neuronal cells, stimulating neurogenesis, while also developing no side-effects, endocannabinoids proved to be a strong group of substances having many beneficial properties.
Therefore, the latest data is reviewed of the various experimental studies concerning the analysis of the most commonly studied cannabinoids and their impact on neurogenesis.”
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Novel insights into mitochondrial molecular targets of iron-induced neurodegeneration: reversal by cannabidiol.

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“Evidence has demonstrated iron accumulation in specific brain regions of patients suffering from neurodegenerative disorders, and this metal has been recognized as a contributing factor for neurodegeneration.

Using an experimental model of brain iron accumulation, we have shown that iron induces severe memory deficits that are accompanied by oxidative stress, increased apoptotic markers, and decreased synaptophysin in the hippocampus of rats.

The present study aims to characterize iron loading effects as well as to determine the molecular targets of cannabidiol (CBD), the main non-psychomimetic compound of Cannabis sativa, on mitochondria.

Rats received iron in the neonatal period and CBD for 14 days in adulthood. Iron induced mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) deletions, decreased epigenetic modulation of mtDNA, mitochondrial ferritin levels, and succinate dehydrogenase activity.

CBD rescued mitochondrial ferritin and epigenetic modulation of mtDNA, and restored succinate dehydrogenase activity in iron-treated rats.

These findings provide new insights into molecular targets of iron neurotoxicity and give support for the use of CBD as a disease modifying agent in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29374603

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Cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 Receptors, and Monoacylglycerol Lipase Gene Expression Alterations in the Basal Ganglia of Patients with Parkinson’s Disease.

Neurotherapeutics

“Previous studies suggest that the endocannabinoid system plays an important role in the neuropathological basis of Parkinson’s disease (PD).

This study was designed to detect potential alterations in the cannabinoid receptors CB1 (CB1r) and CB2 (A isoform, CB2Ar), and in monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) gene expression in the substantia nigra (SN) and putamen (PUT) of patients with PD.

The results of the present study suggest that CB1r, CB2r, and MAGL are closely related to the neuropathological processes of PD.

Therefore, the pharmacological modulation of these targets could represent a new potential therapeutic tool for the management of PD.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29352424

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs13311-018-0603-x

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Benefits of VCE-003.2, a cannabigerol quinone derivative, against inflammation-driven neuronal deterioration in experimental Parkinson’s disease: possible involvement of different binding sites at the PPARγ receptor.

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“Neuroprotection with cannabinoids in Parkinson’s disease (PD) has been afforded predominantly with antioxidant or anti-inflammatory cannabinoids. In the present study, we investigated the anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties of VCE-003.2, a quinone derivative of the non-psychotrophic phytocannabinoid cannabigerol (CBG), which may derive its activity at the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ (PPARγ). The compound is also an antioxidant.

We have demonstrated that VCE-003.2 is neuroprotective against inflammation-driven neuronal damage in an in vivo model of PD and in in vitro cellular models of neuroinflammation. Such effects might involve PPARγ receptors, although in silico and in vitro experiments strongly suggest that VCE-003.2 targets PPARγ by acting through two binding sites at the LBP, one that is sensitive to T0070907 (canonical binding site) and other that is not affected by this PPARγ antagonist (alternative binding site).”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29338785

https://jneuroinflammation.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12974-018-1060-5

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A Systematic Review of the Effectiveness of Medical Cannabis for Psychiatric, Movement and Neurodegenerative Disorders.

“The discovery of endocannabinoid’s role within the central nervous system and its potential therapeutic benefits have brought forth rising interest in the use of cannabis for medical purposes. The present review aimed to synthesize and evaluate the available evidences on the efficacy of cannabis and its derivatives for psychiatric, neurodegenerative and movement disorders. A systematic search of randomized controlled trials of cannabis and its derivatives were conducted via databases (PubMed, Embase and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials). A total of 24 reports that evaluated the use of medical cannabis for Alzheimer’s disease, anorexia nervosa, anxiety, dementia, dystonia, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), psychosis and Tourette syndrome were included in this review. Trial quality was assessed with the Cochrane risk of bias tool. There is a lack of evidence on the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and dystonia. Although trials with positive findings were identified for anorexia nervosa, anxiety, PTSD, psychotic symptoms, agitation in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, Huntington’s disease, and Tourette syndrome, and dyskinesia in Parkinson’s disease, definitive conclusion on its efficacy could not be drawn. Evaluation of these low-quality trials, as rated on the Cochrane risk of bias tools, was challenged by methodological issues such as inadequate description of allocation concealment, blinding and underpowered sample size. More adequately powered controlled trials that examine the long and short term efficacy, safety and tolerability of cannabis for medical use, and the mechanisms underpinning the therapeutic potential are warranted.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29073741

http://www.cpn.or.kr/journal/view.html?doi=10.9758/cpn.2017.15.4.301

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Medical Cannabis in Parkinson Disease: Real-Life Patients’ Experience.

“The use of medical cannabis (MC) is controversial. Support for its benefits is based on small clinical series.

OBJECTIVE:

The aim of this study was to report the results of a standardized interview study that retrospectively assessed the effects of MC on symptoms of Parkinson disease (PD) and its adverse effects in patients treated for at least 3 months.

METHODS:

The survey used telephone interviews using a structured questionnaire based on subjective global impressions of change for various parkinsonian symptoms and yes/no questions on adverse effects.

RESULTS:

Forty-seven nondemented patients with PD (40 men) participated. Their mean age was 64.2 ± 10.8 years, mean disease duration was 10.8 ± 8.3 years, median Hoehn and Yahr (H&Y) was stage III. The duration of MC use was 19.1 ± 17.0 months, and the mean daily dose was 0.9 ± 0.5 g. The delivery of MC was mainly by smoking cigarettes (38 cases, 80.9%). Effect size (r) improvement for falls was 0.89, 0.73 for pain relief, 0.64 for depression, 0.64 for tremor, 0.62 for muscle stiffness, and 0.60 for sleep. The most frequently reported adverse effects from MC were cough (34.9%) in those who used MC by smoking and confusion and hallucinations (reported by 17% each) causing 5 patients (10.6%) to stop treatment.

CONCLUSIONS:

Medical cannabis was found to improve symptoms of PD in the initial stages of treatment and did not cause major adverse effects in this pilot, 2-center, retrospective survey. The extent of use and the reported effects lend support to further development of safer and more effective drugs derived from Cannabis sativa.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29059132

https://insights.ovid.com/crossref?an=00002826-900000000-99616

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AM1241 alleviates MPTP-induced Parkinson’s disease and promotes the regeneration of DA neurons in PD mice.

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“The main pathological feature of Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra. In this study, we investigated the role of cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2R) agonist AM1241 on 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-induced neurotoxicity in a mouse model of PD.

Upon treatment with AM1241, the decreased CB2R level in the PD mouse brain was reversed and the behavior score markedly elevated, accompanied with a dose-dependent increase of dopamine and serotonin. In addition, western blot assay and immunostaining results suggested that AM1241 significantly activated PI3K/Akt/MEK phosphorylation and increased the expression of Parkin and PINK1, both in the substantia nigra and hippocampus. The mRNA expression analysis further demonstrated that AM1241 increased expression of the CB2R and activated Parkin/PINK1 signaling pathways. Furthermore, the increased number of TH-positive cells in the substantia nigra indicated that AM1241 regenerated DA neurons in PD mice, and could therefore be a potential candidate for PD treatment. The clear co-localization of CB2R and DA neurons suggested that AM1241 targeted CB2R, thus also identifying a novel target for PD treatment.

In conclusion, the selective CB2 agonist AM1241 has a significant therapeutic effect on PD mice and resulted in regeneration of DA neurons following MPTP-induced neurotoxicity. The possible mechanisms underlying the neurogenesis effect of AM1241 might be the induction of CB2R expression and an increase in phosphorylation of the PI3K/AKT signaling pathway.”

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Treatment of human spasticity with delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol.

Image result for J Clin Pharmacol.

“Spasticity is a common neurologic condition in patients with multiple sclerosis, stroke, cerebral palsy or an injured spinal cord. Animal studies suggest that THC has an inhibitory effect on polysynaptic reflexes.

Some spastic patients claim improvement after inhaling cannabis. We tested muscle tone, reflexes, strength and performed EMGs before and after double-blinded oral administration of either 10 or 5 mg THC or placebo.

10 mg THC significantly reduced spasticity by clinical measurement (P less than 0.01).

Responses varied, but benefit was seen in three of three patients with “tonic spasms.””

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Cannabinoids in Parkinson’s Disease.

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. publishers

“The endocannabinoid system plays a regulatory role in a number of physiological processes and has been found altered in different pathological conditions, including movement disorders. The interactions between cannabinoids and dopamine in the basal ganglia are remarkably complex and involve both the modulation of other neurotransmitters (γ-aminobutyric acid, glutamate, opioids, peptides) and the activation of different receptors subtypes (cannabinoid receptor type 1 and 2).

In the last years, experimental studies contributed to enrich this scenario reporting interactions between cannabinoids and other receptor systems (transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 cation channel, adenosine receptors, 5-hydroxytryptamine receptors). The improved knowledge, adding new interpretation on the biochemical interaction between cannabinoids and other signaling pathways, may contribute to develop new pharmacological strategies.

A number of preclinical studies in different experimental Parkinson’s disease (PD) models demonstrated that modulating the cannabinoid system may be useful to treat some motor symptoms. Despite new cannabinoid-based medicines have been proposed for motor and nonmotor symptoms of PD, so far, results from clinical studies are controversial and inconclusive. Further clinical studies involving larger samples of patients, appropriate molecular targets, and specific clinical outcome measures are needed to clarify the effectiveness of cannabinoid-based therapies.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28861502

“Cannabis is a psychoactive compound widely used along history for recreational and therapeutic purposes. Although many open questions remain, cannabis-based therapies have become increasingly common raising considerable interest in politics as well as in general public for legalization of medical cannabis.”  http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/can.2017.0002

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Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid is a potent PPARγ agonist with neuroprotective activity.

British Journal of Pharmacology

“Phytocannabinoids are produced in Cannabis sativa L. in acidic form and are decarboxylated upon heating, processing, and storage. While the biological effects of decarboxylated cannabinoids such as Δ9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9 -THC) have been extensively investigated, the bioactivity of Δ9 -THCA is largely unknown, despite its occurrence in different Cannabis preparations. The aim of this study was to determine whether Δ9 -THCA modulates the PPARγ pathway and has neuroprotective activity.

The effects of six phytocannabinoids on PPARγ binding and transcriptional activity were investigated. The effect of Δ9 -THCA on mitochondrial biogenesis and PGC-1α expression was investigated in N2a cells. The neuroprotective effect was analysed in STHdhQ111/Q111 cells expressing a mutated form of the huntingtin protein, and in N2a cells infected with an adenovirus carrying human huntingtin containing 94 polyQ repeats (mHtt-q94). In vivo neuroprotective activity of Δ9 -THCA was investigated in mice intoxicated with the mitochondrial toxin 3-nitropropionic acid (3-NP).

KEY RESULTS:

Cannabinoid acids bind and activate PPARγ with higher potency than their decarboxylated products. Δ9 -THCA increases mitochondrial mass in neuroblastoma N2a cells, and prevents cytotoxicity induced by serum deprivation in STHdhQ111/Q111cells and by mutHtt-q94 in N2a cells. Δ9 -THCA, through a PPARγ-dependent pathway, was neuroprotectant in mice intoxicated with 3-NP, improving motor deficits and preventing striatal degeneration. In addition, Δ9 -THCA attenuated microgliosis, astrogliosis and the upregulation of proinflammatory markers induced by 3-NP.

CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS:

Δ9 -THCA shows potent neuroprotective activity, worth consideration for the treatment of Huntington´s Disease and possibly other neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory diseases.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28853159

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bph.14019/abstract

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