Neuronal preservation and reactive gliosis attenuation following neonatal sciatic nerve axotomy by a fluorinated cannabidiol derivative.

Neuropharmacology

“Immature peripheral nervous system damage, such as the transection of a peripheral nerve, results in the extensive degeneration of motoneurons and dorsal root ganglia (DRG) sensory neurons, mostly due to apoptotic events.

We have previously shown that cannabidiol (CBD), the most abundant non-psychotropic molecule present in the Cannabis sativa plant, exhibits neuroprotective action when administered daily at a dose of 15 mg/kg.

This study shows that use of the fluorinated synthetic version of CBD (4′-fluoro-cannabidiol, HUF-101) significantly improves neuronal survival by 2-fold compared to that achieved with traditional CBD at one-third the dose. Furthermore, we show that HUF-101 administration significantly upregulates anti-apoptotic genes and blocks the expression of pro-apoptotic nuclear factors.

Two-day-old Wistar rats were subjected to unilateral sectioning of the sciatic nerve and treated daily with HUF-101 (1, 2.5, 5 mg/kg/day, i.p.) or a vehicle solution for five days.

The results were evaluated by Nissl staining, immunohistochemistry, and qRT-PCR. Neuronal counting revealed a 47% rescue of spinal motoneurons and a 79% rescue of DRG neurons (HUF-101, 5 mg/kg). Survival was associated with complete depletion of p53 and a 60-fold elevation in BCL2-like 1 gene expression.

Additionally, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPAR-gamma) gene expression was downregulated by 80%. Neuronal preservation was coupled with a high preservation of synaptic coverage and a reduction in astroglial and microglial reactions that were evaluated in nearby spinal motoneurons present in the ventral horn of the lumbar intumescence.

Overall, these data strongly indicate that HUF-101 exerts potent neuroprotective effects that are related to anti-apoptotic protection and the reduction of glial reactivity.”

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