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Cannabidiol Protects Dopaminergic Neurons in Mesencephalic Cultures against the Complex I Inhibitor Rotenone Via Modulation of Heme Oxygenase Activity and Bilirubin.

Antioxidants (Basel). 2020 Feb 04;9(2):

Authors: Duvigneau JC, Trovato A, Müllebner A, Miller I, Krewenka C, Krenn K, Zich W, Moldzio R

Phytocannabinoids protect neurons against stressful conditions, possibly via the heme oxygenase (HO) system. In cultures of primary mesencephalic neurons and neuroblastoma cells, we determined the capability of cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to counteract effects elicited by complex I-inhibitor rotenone by analyzing neuron viability, morphology, gene expression of IL6, CHOP, XBP1, HO-1 (stress response), and HO-2, and in vitro HO activity. Incubation with rotenone led to a moderate stress response but massive degeneration of dopaminergic neurons (DN) in primary mesencephalic cultures. Both phytocannabinoids inhibited in-vitro HO activity, with CBD being more potent. Inhibition of the enzyme reaction was not restricted to neuronal cells and occurred in a non-competitive manner. Although CBD itself decreased viability of the DNs (from 100% to 78%), in combination with rotenone, it moderately increased survival from 28.6% to 42.4%. When the heme degradation product bilirubin (BR) was added together with CBD, rotenone-mediated degeneration of DN was completely abolished, resulting in approximately the number of DN determined with CBD alone (77.5%). Using N18TG2 neuroblastoma cells, we explored the neuroprotective mechanism underlying the combined action of CBD and BR. CBD triggered the expression of HO-1 and other cell stress markers. Co-treatment with rotenone resulted in the super-induction of HO-1 and an increased in-vitro HO-activity. Co-application of BR completely mitigated the rotenone-induced stress response. Our findings indicate that CBD induces HO-1 and increases the cellular capacity to convert heme when stressful conditions are met. Our data further suggest that CBD via HO may confer full protection against (oxidative) stress when endogenous levels of BR are sufficiently high.

PMID: 32033040 [PubMed]

Source: ncbi

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