Cannabidiol inhibits pathogenic T cells, decreases spinal microglial activation and ameliorates multiple sclerosis-like disease in C57BL/6 mice

Ewa Kozela, Nirit Lev, Nathali Kaushansky, Raya Eilam, Neta Rimmerman, Rivka Levy, Avraham Ben-Nun, Ana Juknat, Zvi Vogel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

153 Scopus citations

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Cannabis extracts and several cannabinoids have been shown to exert broad anti-inflammatory activities in experimental models of inflammatory CNS degenerative diseases. Clinical use of many cannabinoids is limited by their psychotropic effects. However, phytocannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD), devoid of psychoactive activity, are, potentially, safe and effective alternatives for alleviating neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration. EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH We used experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) induced by myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) in C57BL/6 mice, as a model of multiple sclerosis. Using immunocytochemistry and cell proliferation assays we evaluated the effects of CBD on microglial activation in MOG-immunized animals and on MOG-specific T-cell proliferation. KEY RESULTS Treatment with CBD during disease onset ameliorated the severity of the clinical signs of EAE. This effect of CBD was accompanied by diminished axonal damage and inflammation as well as microglial activation and T-cell recruitment in the spinal cord of MOG-injected mice. Moreover, CBD inhibited MOG-induced T-cell proliferation in vitro at both low and high concentrations of the myelin antigen. This effect was not mediated via the known cannabinoid CB 1 and CB 2 receptors. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, ameliorates clinical signs of EAE in mice, immunized against MOG. Suppression of microglial activity and T-cell proliferation by CBD appeared to contribute to these beneficial effects.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1507-1519
Number of pages13
JournalBritish Journal of Pharmacology
Volume163
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • EAE
  • MOG
  • T cells
  • cannabidiol
  • cannabinoids
  • microglia

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