Cannabidiol effect on long-term brain alterations in septic rats: Involvement of PPARγ activation

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“Sepsis is a life-threatening condition induced by a deregulated host response to infection. Post-sepsis injury includes long-term cognitive impairment, whose neurobiological mechanisms and effective treatment remain unknown.

The present study was designed to determine the potential effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in a sepsis-associated encephalopathy (SAE) model and explore if peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) is the putative mechanism underpinning the beneficial effects.

SAE was induced in Wistar rats by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) or sham (control). CLP rats received vehicle, CBD (10 mg/kg), PPARγ inhibitor (GW9662 – 1 mg/kg), or GW9662 (1 mg/kg) + CBD (10 mg/kg) intraperitoneally for ten days. During this period, the survival rate was recorded, and at the end of 10 days, a memory test was performed, and the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus were removed to verify brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), cytokines (IL-1β, IL-6 and IL-10), myeloperoxidase activity, nitrite nitrate concentration, and lipid and protein carbonylation and catalase activity.

Septic rats presented cognitive decline and an increase in mortality following CLP. Only CBD alone improved the cognitive impairment, which was accompanied by restoration of BDNF, reduced neuroinflammation, and oxidative stress, mainly in the hippocampus.

This study shows that CLP induces an increase in brain damage and CBD has neuroprotective effects on memory impairment and neurotrophins, as well as against neuroinflammation and oxidative stress, and is mediated by PPARγ activation.”

Delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol conserves cardiovascular functions in a rat model of endotoxemia: Involvement of endothelial molecular mechanisms and oxidative-nitrative stress

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“In endotoxemic models, the inflammatory parameters are altered to a favorable direction as a response to activation of cannabinoid receptors 1 and 2. The phytocannabinoid Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is an agonist/partial antagonist of both cannabinoid receptors. This report targets the effects of THC on the cardiovascular system of endotoxemic rats. In our 24-hour endotoxemic rat model (E. coli derived lipopolysaccharide, LPS i.v. 5mg/kg) with THC treatment (LPS+THC 10 mg/kg i.p.), we investigated cardiac function by echocariography and endothelium-dependent relaxation of the thoracic aorta by isometric force measurement compared to vehicle controls. To evaluate the molecular mechanism, we measured endothelial NOS and COX-2 density by immunohistochemistry; and determined the levels of cGMP, the oxidative stress marker 4-hydroxynonenal, the nitrative stress marker 3-nitrotyrosine, and poly(ADP-ribose) polymers. A decrease in end-systolic and end-diastolic ventricular volumes in the LPS group was observed, which was absent in LPS+THC animals. Endothelium-dependent relaxation was worsened by LPS but not in the LPS+THC group. LPS administration decreased the abundance of cannabinoid receptors. Oxidative-nitrative stress markers showed an increment, and cGMP, eNOS staining showed a decrement in response to LPS. THC only decreased the oxidative-nitrative stress but had no effect on cGMP and eNOS density. COX-2 staining was reduced by THC. We hypothesize that the reduced diastolic filling in the LPS group is a consequence of vascular dysfunction, preventable by THC. The mechanism of action of THC is not based on its local effect on aortic NO homeostasis. The reduced oxidative-nitrative stress and the COX-2 suggest the activation of an anti-inflammatory pathway.”

“The presented results support the notion that a non-selective CB1/2R agonist–partial antagonist may have therapeutic potential in the treatment of sepsis. In our model, the decrement of cardiac filling and the consequential decline of the cardiac output was prevented by THC treatment, due to the maintained endothelial function. One possible mechanism of the more pronounced endothelium-mediated vasodilation is the decreased thromboxane A2 release due to the lessened inducible cyclooxygenase expression, the other salvaging mechanism is the dampened oxidative-nitrative stress. The activation of endocannabinoid system in inflammation and endotoxemia was earlier described; however, the diminished abundance of both cannabinoid receptors in endotoxemia was not detected. The decreased oxidative-nitrative stress and DNA damage are potentially beneficial in a systemic inflammation, and the reduced inflammatory response may help in the prevention to a quick and robust pro-inflammatory cytokine release (cytokine storm).”

Cannabidiol Suppresses Cytokine Storm and Protects Against Cardiac and Renal Injury Associated with Sepsis

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“Background: Cytokine release syndrome, also termed “cytokine storm,” is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality among patients with various conditions such as sepsis. While cytokine storm is associated with multiple organ damage, acute cardiac and renal injury represents a hallmark of cytokine storm. Since recent reports have suggested that cannabidiol (CBD) may assist in the treatment of inflammatory diseases, our objective was to examine the effect of CBD on cytokine storm-induced cardiac and renal injury using the lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced sepsis mouse model. 

Materials and Methods: At 8 weeks of age, mice were randomly assigned to receive CBD (15 mg/kg) or vehicle one hour before a single injection of either phosphate-buffered saline or LPS (10 mg/kg) for an additional 24 h. 

Results: Our results show that CBD improves cardiac function and reduces renal injury in a mouse model of cytokine storm. Moreover, our data indicate that CBD significantly reduces systemic and renal inflammation to contribute to the improvements observed in a cytokine storm-model of cardiac and renal injury. 

Conclusions: Overall, the findings of this study suggest that CBD could be repurposed to reduce morbidity in patients with cytokine storm particularly in severe infections such as sepsis.”

[Activation of cannabinoid receptor 2 alleviates acute lung injury in rats with lipopolysaccharide-induced sepsis]


“Objective: To investigate the protective effect of cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) activation against acute lung injury in rats with lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced sepsis and explore the underlying mechanism.

Results: The rat models of sepsis showed severe damage of alveolar structures with significantly decreased fluid clearance rate, lowered pulmonary expressions of CB2, occludin and ZO-1 mRNA and proteins, increased water content in the lung tissue, and increased phosphorylation level of P38 MAPK and TNF-α and IL-1β levels in lung lavage fluid (all P < 0.05). Treatment with JWH133 improved alveolar pathology in the septic rats, but there was still inflammatory infiltration; lung tissue water content, phosphorylation of P38 MAPK, and TNF-α and IL-1β levels in lung lavage fluid were all significantly decreased, and the fluid clearance rate, pulmonary expressions of CB2, occludin and ZO-1 were significantly increased (all P < 0.05). Additional treatment with SB203580 resulted in further improvements of alveolar pathologies, lowered phosphorylation levels of P38 MAPK in the lung tissue and TNF-α and IL-1β levels in lung lavage fluid, and increased the protein expressions of occludin and ZO-1 (P < 0.05) without causing significant changes in mRNA and protein expression of CB2 (P > 0.05).

Conclusion: In rats with LPS-induced sepsis, activation of CB2 can inhibit the p38 MAPK signaling pathway, reduce the release of inflammatory factors in the lung tissues, promote tight junction protein expressions, and thus offer protection against acute lung injury.”

Anti-inflammatory effects of cannabidiol against lipopolysaccharides in cardiac sodium channels

“Background: Sepsis, caused by a dysregulated host response to infections, can lead to cardiac arrhythmias. However, the mechanisms underlying sepsis-induced inflammation, and how inflammation provokes cardiac arrhythmias, are not well understood. We hypothesized that CBD may ameliorate lipopolysaccharides (LPS)-induced cardiotoxicity via Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR-4) and cardiac sodium channels (Nav1.5).

Methods and results: We incubated human immune cells (THP-1 macrophages) with LPS for 24 hours, then extracted the THP-1 incubation media. ELISA assay showed that LPS (1 or 5 μg/ml), in a concentration-dependent manner, or MPLA (TLR-4 agonist, 5 μg/ml) stimulated the THP-1 cells to release inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α and IL-6). Prior incubation (4 hours) with cannabidiol (CBD: 5 μM) or C34 (TLR-4 antagonist: 5 μg/ml) inhibited LPS and MPLA-induced release of both IL-6 and TNF-α. Human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CM) were subsequently incubated for 24 hours in the media extracted from THP-1 cells incubated with LPS, MPLA alone, or in combination with CBD or C34. Voltage-clamp experiments showed a right shift in the voltage dependence of Nav1.5 activation, steady state fast inactivation (SSFI), increased persistent current and prolonged in silico action potential duration in hiSPC-CM incubated in the LPS or MPLA-THP-1 media. Co-incubation with CBD or C34 rescued the biophysical dysfunction caused by LPS and MPLA.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that CBD may protect against sepsis-induced inflammation and subsequent arrhythmias through (i) inhibition of the release of inflammatory cytokines, antioxidant and anti-apoptotic effects and/or (ii) direct effect on Nav1.5.”

Natural cannabinoids suppress the cytokine storm in sepsis-like in vitro model

 John Libbey Eurotext“Natural cannabinoids may have beneficial effects on various tissues and functions including a positive influence on the immune system and the inflammatory process.

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of natural cannabinoids on the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines by lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated whole human blood cells.

Levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin-1β (IL-1β), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) were measured before and after exposure of LPS-stimulated whole blood to different concentrations of Cannabidiol (CBD) or a combination of CBD and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) extract.

LPS stimulated the production of the pro-inflammatory cytokines. Exposure to both CBD and CBD/THC extracts significantly suppressed cytokine production in a dose-dependent manner. Exposure to cannabinoid concentrations of 50 μg/ml or 100 μg/ml resulted in a near-complete inhibition of cytokine production.

This study demonstrates that natural cannabinoids significantly suppress pro-inflammatory cytokine production in LPS-stimulated whole blood in a dose-dependent manner. The use of human whole blood, rather than isolated specific cells or tissues, may closely mimic an in vivo sepsis environment.

These findings highlight the role that natural cannabinoids may play in suppressing inflammation and call for additional studies of their use as possible novel therapeutic agents for acute and chronic inflammation.”

Cannabinoid receptor 2 activation alleviates septic lung injury by promoting autophagy via inhibition of inflammatory mediator release.

Cellular Signalling“Septic lung injury is one of main causes of high mortality in severe patients. Inhibition of excessive inflammatory response is considered as an effective strategy for septic lung injury.

Previous studies have shown that cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2), a G protein-coupled receptor, play an important role in immunosuppression.

Whether CB2 can be used as a therapeutic target for septic lung injury is unclear. The aim of this study is to explore the role of CB2 in sepsis and its potential mechanism.

These results suggest that CB2 serves as a protective target for septic lung injury by decreasing inflammatory factors, which is associated with the enhancement of autophagy.”

“Activation of cannabinoid receptor 2 can alleviate sepsis-induced lung injury.”

Cannabis Sativa Revisited-Crosstalk between microRNA Expression, Inflammation, Oxidative Stress, and Endocannabinoid Response System in Critically Ill Patients with Sepsis.

cells-logo“Critically ill patients with sepsis require a multidisciplinary approach, as this situation implies multiorgan distress, with most of the bodily biochemical and cellular systems being affected by the condition. Moreover, sepsis is characterized by a multitude of biochemical interactions and by dynamic changes of the immune system. At the moment, there is a gap in our understanding of the cellular, genetic, and molecular mechanisms involved in sepsis.

One of the systems intensely studied in recent years is the endocannabinoid signaling pathway, as light was shed over a series of important interactions of cannabinoid receptors with biochemical pathways, specifically for sepsis. Furthermore, a series of important implications on inflammation and the immune system that are induced by the activity of cannabinoid receptors stimulated by the delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) have been noticed.

One of the most important is their ability to reduce the biosynthesis of pro-inflammatory mediators and the modulation of immune mechanisms. Different studies have reported that cannabinoids can reduce oxidative stress at mitochondrial and cellular levels.

The aim of this review paper was to present, in detail, the important mechanisms modulated by the endocannabinoid signaling pathway, as well as of the molecular and cellular links it has with sepsis. At the same time, we wish to present the possible implications of cannabinoids in the most important biological pathways involved in sepsis, such as inflammation, redox activity, immune system, and epigenetic expression.”

The ameliorating effect of cannabinoid type 2 receptor activation on brain, lung, liver and heart damage in cecal ligation and puncture-induced sepsis model in rats.

International Immunopharmacology“Uncontrolled infection and increased inflammatory mediators might cause systemic inflammatory response. It is already known that Cannabinoid Type 2 (CB2) receptors, which are commonly expressed in immune cells and in many other tissues, have an effect on the regulation of immune response.

In the present study of ours, the effects of CB2 receptor agonist JWH-133 was investigated on cecal ligation and puncture (CLP)-induced polymicrobial sepsis model in rats.

The JWH-133 treatment decreased the histopathological damage in brain, heart, lung, and liver and reduced the caspase-3, p-NF-κB, TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6 levels in these tissues. In addition to this, JWH-133 treatment also decreased the serum TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6 levels, which were increased due to CLP, and increased the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 levels.

In the present study, it was determined that the CB2 receptor agonist JWH-133 decreases the CLP-induced inflammation, and reduces the damage in brain, lung, liver and heart.

Our findings show the therapeutic potential of the activation of CB2 receptors with JWH-133 in sepsis.”

“CB2 receptors are expressed in many tissues including immune cells. Activation of CB2 receptors has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effect.”

Cannabinoid CB1 Receptor Antagonist Rimonabant Decreases Levels of Markers of Organ Dysfunction and Alters Vascular Reactivity in Aortic Vessels in Late Sepsis in Rats.

“Sepsis is a life-threatening condition with high mortality rates that is caused by dysregulation of the host response to infection. We previously showed that treatment with the cannabinoid CB1 receptor antagonist rimonabant reduced mortality rates in animals with sepsis that was induced by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP). This improvement in the survival rate appeared to be related to an increase in arginine vasopressin (AVP) levels 12 h after CLP.

The present study investigated the effects of rimonabant on organ dysfunction, hematologic parameters, and vascular reactivity in male Wistar rats with sepsis induced by CLP. Intraperitoneal treatment with rimonabant (10 mg/kg, 4 h after CLP) abolished the increase in the plasma levels of lactate, lactate dehydrogenase, glucose, and creatinine kinase MB without altering hematological parameters (i.e., leukopenia and a reduction of platelet counts). CLP increased plasma levels of nitrate/nitrite (NOx) and induced vasoconstriction in the tail artery. The treatment of CLP rats with rimonabant did not alter NOx production but reduced the vasoconstriction. Rimonabant also attenuated the hyperreactivity to AVP induced by CLP without affecting hyporesponsiveness to phenylephrine in aortic rings.

These results suggest that rimonabant reduces organ dysfunction during sepsis, and this effect may be related to AVP signaling in blood vessels. This effect may have contributed to the higher survival rate in rimonabant-treated septic animals.”