Phytocannabinoids Reduce Inflammation of Primed Macrophages and Enteric Glial Cells: An In Vitro Study

Gal Cohen, Ofer Gover, Betty Schwartz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Intestinal inflammation is mediated by a subset of cells populating the intestine, such as enteric glial cells (EGC) and macrophages. Different studies indicate that phytocannabinoids could play a possible role in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) by relieving the symptoms involved in the disease. Phytocannabinoids act through the endocannabinoid system, which is distributed throughout the mammalian body in the cells of the immune system and in the intestinal cells. Our in vitro study analyzed the putative anti-inflammatory effect of nine selected pure cannabinoids in J774A1 macrophage cells and EGCs triggered to undergo inflammation with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). The anti-inflammatory effect of several phytocannabinoids was measured by their ability to reduce TNFα transcription and translation in J774A1 macrophages and to diminish S100B and GFAP secretion and transcription in EGCs. Our results demonstrate that THC at the lower concentrations tested exerted the most effective anti-inflammatory effect in both J774A1 macrophages and EGCs compared to the other phytocannabinoids tested herein. We then performed RNA-seq analysis of EGCs exposed to LPS in the presence or absence of THC or THC-COOH. Transcriptomic analysis of these EGCs revealed 23 differentially expressed genes (DEG) compared to the treatment with only LPS. Pretreatment with THC resulted in 26 DEG, and pretreatment with THC-COOH resulted in 25 DEG. To evaluate which biological pathways were affected by the different phytocannabinoid treatments, we used the Ingenuity platform. We show that THC treatment affects the mTOR and RAR signaling pathway, while THC-COOH mainly affects the IL6 signaling pathway.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number14628
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • J774A1 M1 macrophages
  • enteric glial cells
  • phytocannabinoids


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