THC Reduces Ki67-Immunoreactive Cells Derived from Human Primary Glioblastoma in a GPR55-Dependent Manner

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“Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most frequent malignant tumor of the central nervous system in humans with a median survival time of less than 15 months.

9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the best-characterized components of Cannabis sativa plants with modulating effects on cannabinoid receptors 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2) and on orphan receptors such as GPR18 or GPR55. Previous studies have demonstrated anti-tumorigenic effects of THC and CBD in several tumor entities including GBM, mostly mediated via CB1 or CB2.

In this study, we investigated the non-CB1/CB2 effects of THC on the cell cycle of GBM cells isolated from human tumor samples.

Cell cycle entry was measured after 24 h upon exposure by immunocytochemical analysis of Ki67 as proliferation marker. The Ki67-reducing effect of THC was abolished in the presence of CBD, whereas CBD alone did not cause any changes. To identify the responsible receptor for THC effects, we first characterized the cells regarding their expression of different cannabinoid receptors: CB1, CB2, GPR18, and GPR55. Secondly, the receptors were pharmacologically blocked by application of their selective antagonists AM281, AM630, O-1918, and CID16020046 (CID), respectively. All examined cells expressed the receptors, but only in presence of the GPR55 antagonist CID was the THC effect diminished. Stimulation with the GPR55 agonist lysophosphatidylinositol (LPI) revealed similar effects as obtained for THC. The LPI effects were also inhibited by CBD and CID, confirming a participation of GPR55 and suggesting its involvement in modifying the cell cycle of patient-derived GBM cells.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33802282/

“Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most frequent primary brain tumor entity with poor prognosis and resistance to current standard therapies. Cannabinoids, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are discussed as promising compounds for individualized treatment, as they exert anti-tumor effects by binding to cannabinoid-specific receptors. However, their pharmacology is highly diverse and complex. The present study was designed to verify (1) whether cannabinoids show even any effect in GBM cells derived from primary human tumor samples and (2) to identify the receptor responsible for those effects. Our findings revealed that THC reduces the number of Ki67 immunoreactive nuclei, a cell cycle marker through the orphan cannabinoid receptor GPR55. The data suggest a therapeutic potential of cannabinoids in those GBM with functional and responsive GPR55.”

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6694/13/5/1064

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Emerging role of cannabinoids and synthetic cannabinoid receptor 1/cannabinoid receptor 2 receptor agonists in cancer treatment and chemotherapy-associated cancer management

 Journal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics“Cannabis was extensively utilized for its medicinal properties till the 19th century. A steep decline in its medicinal usage was observed later due to its emergence as an illegal recreational drug. Advances in technology and scientific findings led to the discovery of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive compound of cannabis, that further led to the discovery of endogenous cannabinoids system consisting of G-protein-coupled receptors – cannabinoid receptor 1 and cannabinoid receptor 2 along with their ligands, mainly anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol. Endocannabinoid (EC) is shown to be a modulator not only for physiological functions but also for the immune system, endocrine network, and central nervous system. Medicinal research and meta-data analysis over the last few decades have shown a significant potential for both THC and cannabidiol (CBD) to exert palliative effects. People suffering from many forms of advanced stages of cancers undergo chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting followed by severe and chronic neuropathic pain and weight loss. THC and CBD exhibit effective analgesic, anxiolytic, and appetite-stimulating effect on patients suffering from cancer. Drugs currently available in the market to treat such chemotherapy-induced cancer-related ailments are Sativex (GW Pharmaceutical), Dronabinol (Unimed Pharmaceuticals), and Nabilone (Valeant Pharmaceuticals). Apart from exerting palliative effects, THC also shows promising role in the treatment of cancer growth, neurodegenerative diseases (multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease), and alcohol addiction and hence should be exploited for potential benefits. The current review discusses the nature and role of CB receptors, specific applications of cannabinoids, and major studies that have assessed the role of cannabinoids in cancer management.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33723124/

“Specific targeting of cannabinoid receptors can be used to manage severe side effects during chemotherapy, palliative care, and overall cancer management. Furthermore, research evidences on cannabinoids have suggested tumor inhibiting and suppressing properties which warrant reconsidering legality of the substance. Studies on CB1 and CB2 receptors, in case of cancers, have demonstrated the psychoactive constituents of cannabinoids to be potent against tumor growth. Interestingly, studies have also shown that activation of CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors by their respective synthetic agonists tends to limit human cancer cell growth, suggesting the role of the endocannabinoid system as a novel target for treatment of cancers.”

https://www.cancerjournal.net/article.asp?issn=0973-1482;year=2021;volume=17;issue=1;spage=1;epage=9;aulast=Shah

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Cannabinoids as Key Regulators of Inflammasome Signaling: A Current Perspective

Segura Lab - New publication in Frontiers in Immunology“Inflammasomes are cytoplasmic inflammatory signaling protein complexes that detect microbial materials, sterile inflammatory insults, and certain host-derived elements. Inflammasomes, once activated, promote caspase-1-mediated maturation and secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines, interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-18, leading to pyroptosis. Current advances in inflammasome research support their involvement in the development of chronic inflammatory disorders in contrast to their role in regulating innate immunity.

Cannabis (marijuana) is a natural product obtained from the Cannabis sativa plant, and pharmacologically active ingredients of the plant are referred to as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids and cannabis extracts have recently emerged as promising novel drugs for chronic medical conditions. Growing evidence indicates the potent anti-inflammatory potential of cannabinoids, especially Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and synthetic cannabinoids; however, the mechanisms remain unclear. Several attempts have been made to decipher the role of cannabinoids in modulating inflammasome signaling in the etiology of chronic inflammatory diseases.

In this review, we discuss recently published evidence on the effect of cannabinoids on inflammasome signaling. We also discuss the contribution of various cannabinoids in human diseases concerning inflammasome regulation. Lastly, in the milieu of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, we confer available evidence linking inflammasome activation to the pathophysiology of COVID-19 suggesting overall, the importance of cannabinoids as possible drugs to target inflammasome activation in or to support the treatment of a variety of human disorders including COVID-19.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33584697/

“Cannabis has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory effects owing to its constituents, cannabinoids and terpenoids. Overall, cannabinoids hold a great promise as additional therapeutics to support the current treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases, along with COVID-19”

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2020.613613/full

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Cannabidiol inhibits human glioma by induction of lethal mitophagy through activating TRPV4

Publication Cover“Glioma is the most common primary malignant brain tumor with poor survival and limited therapeutic options. The non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) has been shown to be effective against glioma; however, the molecular target and mechanism of action of CBD in glioma are poorly understood.

Here we investigated the molecular mechanisms underlying the antitumor effect of CBD in preclinical models of human glioma.

Our results showed that CBD induced autophagic rather than apoptotic cell death in glioma cells. We also showed that CBD induced mitochondrial dysfunction and lethal mitophagy arrest, leading to autophagic cell death. Mechanistically, calcium flux induced by CBD through TRPV4 (transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 4) activation played a key role in mitophagy initiation. We further confirmed TRPV4 levels correlated with both tumor grade and poor survival in glioma patients. Transcriptome analysis and other results demonstrated that ER stress and the ATF4-DDIT3-TRIB3-AKT-MTOR axis downstream of TRPV4 were involved in CBD-induced mitophagy in glioma cells. Lastly, CBD and temozolomide combination therapy in patient-derived neurosphere cultures and mouse orthotopic models showed significant synergistic effect in both controlling tumor size and improving survival.

Altogether, these findings showed for the first time that the antitumor effect of CBD in glioma is caused by lethal mitophagy and identified TRPV4 as a molecular target and potential biomarker of CBD in glioma. Given the low toxicity and high tolerability of CBD, we therefore propose CBD should be tested clinically for glioma, both alone and in combination with temozolomide.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33629929/

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15548627.2021.1885203?journalCode=kaup20

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Synthetic Cannabinoids Induce Autophagy and Mitochondrial Apoptotic Pathways in Human Glioblastoma Cells Independently of Deficiency in TP53 or PTEN Tumor Suppressors

cancers-logo“Glioblastomas (GBMs) are aggressive brain tumors with frequent genetic alterations in TP53 and PTEN tumor suppressor genes rendering resistance to standard chemotherapeutics. Cannabinoid type 1 and 2 (CB1/CB2) receptor expression in GBMs and antitumor activity of cannabinoids in glioma cells and animal models, raised promises for a targeted treatment of these tumors. The susceptibility of human glioma cells to CB2-agonists and their mechanism of action are not fully elucidated. We determined CB1 and CB2 expression in 14 low-grade and 21 high-grade tumor biopsies, GBM-derived primary cultures and established cell lines. The non-selective CB receptor agonist WIN55,212-2 (but not its inactive enantiomer) or the CB2-selective agonist JWH133 induced apoptosis in patient-derived glioma cultures and five established glioma cell lines despite p53 and/or PTEN deficiency. Growth inhibitory efficacy of cannabinoids correlated with CB1/CB2 expression (EC50 WIN55,212-2: 7.36-15.70 µM, JWH133: 12.15-143.20 µM). Treatment with WIN55,212-2 or JWH133 led to activation of the apoptotic mitochondrial pathway and DNA fragmentation. Synthetic cannabinoid action was associated with the induction of autophagy and knockdown of autophagy genes augmented cannabinoid-induced apoptotic cell death. The high susceptibility of human glioblastoma cells to synthetic cannabinoids, despite genetic defects contributing to apoptosis resistance, makes cannabinoids promising anti-glioma therapeutics.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33499365/

“Glioblastomas (GBMs) are aggressive brain tumors with frequent genetic defects in TP53 and PTEN tumor suppressor genes, which render tumors refractory to standard chemotherapeutics.

Natural and synthetic cannabinoids showed antitumor activity in glioma cells and animal glioma models.

Due to differences in the expression of cannabinoid type 2 receptors (CB2), which are abundant in GBMs but absent from a healthy brain, we tested synthetic cannabinoids for their ability to kill numerous glioma cells. We performed multiple biochemical analyses to determine which cell death pathways are activated in human glioma cells. We demonstrate high susceptibility of human glioblastoma cells to synthetic cannabinoids, despite genetic defects contributing to apoptosis resistance, which makes cannabinoids promising anti-glioma therapeutics.”

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6694/13/3/419

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The pro-apoptosis effects of Echinacea purpurea and Cannabis sativa extracts in human lung cancer cells through caspase-dependent pathway

 Logo of bmccmt“Considering the advantages of using medicinal herbs as supplementary treatments to sensitize conventional anti-cancer drugs, studying functional mechanisms and regulatory effects of Echinacea purpurea (as a non-cannabinoid plant) Image result for echinacea purpurea

and Cannabis sativa (as a cannabinoid plant) are timely and required.Image result for cannabis sativa

The potential effects of such herbs on lung cancer cell growth, apoptosis, cell cycle distribution, cellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) level, caspase activity and their cannabinomimetic properties on the CB2 receptor are addressed in the current study.

Results: Echinacea purpurea (EP) root extract induced a considerable decrease in A549 viable cells, showing a time and dose-dependent response. The cell toxicity of EP was accompanied by induction of early apoptosis and cell accumulation at the sub G1 phase of the cell cycle. The elevation of cellular ROS level and caspase 3 activity indicate ROS-induced caspase-dependent apoptosis following the treatment of A549 cells by EP extract. The observed effects of EP extract on A549 growth and death were abrogated following blockage of CB2 using AM630, a specific antagonist of the CB2 receptor. Increasing concentrations of Cannabis sativa (CS) induced A549 cell death in a time-dependent manner, followed by induction of early apoptosis, cell cycle arrest at sub G1 phase, elevation of ROS level, and activation of caspase 3. The CB2 blockage caused attenuation of CS effects on A549 cell death which revealed consistency with the effects of EP extract on A549 cells.

Conclusions: The pro-apoptotic effects of EP and CS extracts on A549 cells and their possible regulatory role of CB2 activity might be attributed to metabolites of both herbs. These effects deserve receiving more attention as alternative anti-cancer agents.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33446187/

“Both cannabinoid receptors and naturally occurring cannabinoids, known as phytocannabinoids, have potential therapeutic applications based on their pivotal roles in regulating immunologic responses, alleviating inflammation, tumor cell proliferation, angiogenesis, invasion, and migration. Based on the findings, it can be postulated that EP and CS extracts can inhibit lung cancer cell growth and induce apoptosis and should be considered as an alternative anti-cancer agent in lung cancer.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7809807/

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The Role of Cannabinoids as Anticancer Agents in Pediatric Oncology

cancers-logo“Cannabinoids are a group of chemicals that bind to receptors in the human body and, in turn, modulate the endocannabinoid system (ECS). They can be endogenously produced, synthetic, or derived from the plant Cannabis sativa L.

Research over the past several decades has shown that the ECS is a cellular communication network essential to maintain multiple biological functions and the homeostasis of the body. Indeed, cannabinoids have been shown to influence a wide variety of biological effects, including memory, pain, reproduction, bone remodeling or immunity, to name a few.

Unsurprisingly, given these broad physiological effects, alterations of the ECS have been found in different diseases, including cancer. In recent years, the medical use of cannabis has been approved in different countries for a variety of human conditions. However, the use of these compounds, specifically as anticancer agents, remains controversial.

Studies have shown that cannabinoids do have anticancer activity in different tumor types such as breast cancer, melanoma, lymphoma and adult brain cancer. Specifically, phytocannabinoids Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) has been shown to induce apoptosis and inhibit proliferation of adult cancer cells, as well as modulate angiogenesis and metastasis.

Despite increasing evidence that cannabinoids elicit antitumor effects in adult cancers, there is minimal data available on their effects in children or in pediatric cancers despite public and clinical demand for information. Here we describe a comprehensive and critical review of what is known about the effects of cannabinoids on pediatric cancers, highlight current gaps in knowledge and identify the critical issues that need addressing before considering these promising but controversial drugs for use in pediatric oncology.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33466435/

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6694/13/1/157

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Cannabis-Derived Compounds Cannabichromene and Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Interact and Exhibit Cytotoxic Activity against Urothelial Cell Carcinoma Correlated with Inhibition of Cell Migration and Cytoskeleton Organization

molecules-logo“Cannabis sativa contains more than 500 constituents, yet the anticancer properties of the vast majority of cannabis compounds remains unknown. We aimed to identify cannabis compounds and their combinations presenting cytotoxicity against bladder urothelial carcinoma (UC), the most common urinary system cancer.

An XTT assay was used to determine cytotoxic activity of C. sativa extracts on T24 and HBT-9 cell lines. Extract chemical content was identified by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) was used to determine apoptosis and cell cycle, using stained F-actin and nuclei. Scratch and transwell assays were used to determine cell migration and invasion, respectively. Gene expression was determined by quantitative Polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

The most active decarboxylated extract fraction (F7) of high-cannabidiol (CBD) C. sativa was found to contain cannabichromene (CBC) and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Synergistic interaction was demonstrated between CBC + THC whereas cannabinoid receptor (CB) type 1 and type 2 inverse agonists reduced cytotoxic activity.

Treatments with CBC + THC or CBD led to cell cycle arrest and cell apoptosis. CBC + THC or CBD treatments inhibited cell migration and affected F-actin integrity. Identification of active plant ingredients (API) from cannabis that induce apoptosis and affect cell migration in UC cell lines forms a basis for pre-clinical trials for UC treatment.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33477303/

https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/26/2/465

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Cannabinoids in Medicine: Cancer, Immunity, and Microbial Diseases

ijms-logo“Recently, there has been a growing interest in the medical applications of Cannabis plants. They owe their unique properties to a group of secondary metabolites known as phytocannabinoids, which are specific for this genus. Phytocannabinoids, and cannabinoids generally, can interact with cannabinoid receptors being part of the endocannabinoid system present in animals. Over the years a growing body of scientific evidence has been gathered, suggesting that these compounds have therapeutic potential.

In this article, we review the classification of cannabinoids, the molecular mechanisms of their interaction with animal cells as well as their potential application in the treatment of human diseases. Specifically, we focus on the research concerning the anticancer potential of cannabinoids in preclinical studies, their possible use in cancer treatment and palliative medicine, as well as their influence on the immune system. We also discuss their potential as therapeutic agents in infectious, autoimmune, and gastrointestinal inflammatory diseases.

We postulate that the currently ongoing and future clinical trials should be accompanied by research focused on the cellular and molecular response to cannabinoids and Cannabis extracts, which will ultimately allow us to fully understand the mechanism, potency, and safety profile of cannabinoids as single agents and as complementary drugs.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33383838/

“Additionally, much evidence from pre-clinical and clinical studies has been gathered over the last decade, suggesting that multiple substances produced by Cannabis plants have a therapeutic potential, including anticancer properties.”

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/22/1/263/htm

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(Endo)Cannabinoids and Gynaecological Cancers

cancers-logo“Gynaecological cancers can be primary neoplasms, originating either from the reproductive tract or the products of conception, or secondary neoplasms, representative of metastatic disease. For some of these cancers, the exact causes are unknown; however, it is recognised that the precise aetiopathogeneses for most are multifactorial and include exogenous (such as diet) and endogenous factors (such as genetic predisposition), which mutually interact in a complex manner.

One factor that has been recognised to be involved in the pathogenesis and progression of gynaecological cancers is the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS consists of endocannabinoids (bioactive lipids), their receptors, and metabolic enzymes responsible for their synthesis and degradation. In this review, the impact of plant-derived (Cannabis species) cannabinoids and endocannabinoids on gynaecological cancers will be discussed within the context of the complexity of the proteins that bind, transport, and metabolise these compounds in reproductive and other tissues. In particular, the potential of endocannabinoids, their receptors, and metabolic enzymes as biomarkers of specific cancers, such as those of the endometrium, will be addressed. Additionally, the therapeutic potential of targeting selected elements of the ECS as new action points for the development of innovative drugs will be presented.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33375539/

“Cancers of the female reproductive system are common and are responsible for a large number of deaths in women. The exact reasons why some of these cancers occur are unknown. It is, however, known that for most of these cancers, several factors interact for them to happen. These interactions involve factors external and internal to the woman. An understanding of some of the internal factors involved in how these cancers arise will not only help drive preventive strategies, but will speed the development of new treatment approaches.

The endocannabinoid system is a family including chemicals (known as endocannabinoids) produced in the body that are similar to those derived from the cannabis plant. This system, which is widely distributed in the body, has been shown to be involved in various functions. Its disruption has been shown to lead to various diseases, one of which is cancer. In this review, we summarise current knowledge of this system, its various constituents, and how they are involved in reproductive events and their pathologies, especially cancers. Furthermore, we discuss the role of the endocannabinoid system in these cancers and how targeting it could lead to new approaches to diagnosis and treatment of cancers of the female reproductive system.”

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6694/13/1/37

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