Curated Research Library
CATEGORY : Neurology
This open-label drug trial provides class III evidence for the long-term safety and efficacy of CBD administration in patients with treatment-resistant epilepsy (TRE) associated with CDKL5 deficiency disorder and Aicardi, Dup15q, and Doose syndromes. Adjuvant therapy with CBD showed similar safety and efficacy for these four syndromes as reported in a diverse population of TRE etiologies.
Neural hyperexcitability in the event of damage during early life, such as hyperthermia, hypoxia, traumatic brain injury, status epilepticus, or a pre-existing neuroinflammatory condition, can promote the process of epileptogenesis, which is defined as the sequence of events that converts a normal circuit into a hyperexcitable circuit and represents the time that occurs between the damaging event and the development of spontaneous seizure activity or the establishment of epilepsy. Epilepsy is the most common neurological disease in the world, characterized by the presence of seizures recurring without apparent provocation. Cannabidiol (CBD), a phytocannabinoid derived from the subspecies Cannabis sativa (CS), is the most studied active ingredient and is currently studied as a therapeutic strategy: it is an anticonvulsant mainly used in children with catastrophic epileptic syndromes and has also been reported to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, supporting it as a therapeutic strategy with neuroprotective potential. However, the mechanisms by which CBD exerts these effects are not entirely known, and the few studies on acute and chronic models in immature animals have provided contradictory results. Thus, it is difficult to evaluate the therapeutic profile of CBD, as well as the involvement of the endocannabinoid system in epileptogenesis in the immature brain. Therefore, this review focuses on the collection of scientific data in animal models, as well as information from clinical studies on the effects of cannabinoids on epileptogenesis and their anticonvulsant and adverse effects in early life.
Introduction: Cannabidiol (CBD) has antiseizure properties but no psychoactive effects. Randomized controlled trials of an oral, pharmaceutical formulation of highly purified CBD are promising; however, data regarding other formulations are sparse and anecdotal. We evaluated the effectiveness of add-on therapy with a standardized CBD-based oil in treatment-resistant epilepsy (TRE) patients. Materials and Methods: An open retrospective study was carried out on patients with refractory epilepsy of different etiology. We reviewed clinical data from medical charts and caregiver’s information. Participants received add-on with 24% CBD-based oil, sublingually administered, at the starting dose of 5–10 mg/[kg·day] up to the maximum dose of 50 mg/[kg·day], based on clinical efficacy. Efficacy was evaluated based on patients being seizure free or experiencing at ≥50% improvement on seizure frequency. Tolerability and suspected adverse drug reaction data were also analyzed. Results: We included 37 patients (46% female) with a median age of 16.1 (range: 2–54) years. Twenty-two (60%) patients suffered from epileptic encephalopathy, 9 (24%) from focal epilepsy, and 6 (16%) from generalized epilepsy. Mean follow-up duration was 68 (range: 24–72) weeks. The average age at seizure onset was 3.8±2.1 years (range: 7 days–21 years). The median achieved CBD-based oil dose was 4.2±11.4 (range: 0.6–50) mg/[kg·day]. At 40-month follow-up, 7 (19%) patients were seizure free, 27 (73%) reported >50% improvement, 2 (5%) patients reported <50% improvement, and 1 patient discontinued therapy due to lack of efficacy. Weaning from concomitant antiepileptic drugs was obtained after 24 weeks from CBD introduction in 10 subjects. Mild and transitory adverse events, including somnolence or loss of appetite, occurred in nine (25%) patients. Discussion and Conclusion: We showed the efficacy of a CBD-based oil formulation with few significant side effects in patients with TRE of various etiologies.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a marijuana compound implicated in epilepsy treatment in animal models and pharmacoresistant patients. However, little is known about chronic CBD administration’s effects in chronic models of seizures, especially regarding its potential antiepileptogenic effects. In the present study, we combined a genetic model of epilepsy (the Wistar Audiogenic Rat strain – WARs), a chronic protocol of seizures (the audiogenic kindling – AuK), quantitative and sequential behavioral analysis (neuroethology), and microscopy imaging to analyze the effects of chronic CBD administration in a genetic model of epilepsy. The acute audiogenic seizure is characterized by tonic-clonic seizures and intense brainstem activity. However, during the AuK WARs can develop limbic seizures associated with the recruitment of forebrain and limbic structures. Here, chronic CBD administration, twice a day, attenuated brainstem, tonic-clonic seizures, prevented limbic recruitment, and suppressed limbic (kindled) seizures, suggesting CBD antiepileptogenic effects. Additionally, CBD prevented chronic neuronal hyperactivity, suppressing FosB immunostaining in the brainstem (inferior colliculus and periaqueductal gray matter) and forebrain (basolateral amygdala nucleus and piriform cortex), structures associated with tonic-clonic and limbic seizures, respectively. Chronic seizures increased cannabinoid receptors type 1 (CB1R) immunostaining in the hippocampus and the BLA, while CBD administration prevented changes in CB1R expression induced by the AuK. The neuroethological analysis provided details about CBD’s protective effects against brainstem and limbic seizures associated with FosB expression. Our results strongly suggest chronic CBD anticonvulsant and antiepileptogenic effects associated with reduced chronic neuronal activity and modulation of CB1R expression. We also support the chronic use of CBD for epilepsies treatments.
Previous preclinical studies have demonstrated that cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabigerol (CBG), two non-psychotomimetic phytocannabinoids from Cannabis sativa, induce neuroprotective effects on toxic and neurodegenerative processes. However, a comparative study of both compounds has not been reported so far, and the targets involved in this effect remain unknown. The ability of CBD and CBG to attenuate the neurotoxicity induced by two insults involving oxidative stress (hydrogen peroxide, H2O2) and mitochondrial dysfunction (rotenone) was evaluated in neural cell cultures. The involvement of CB-1 and CB-2 or 5-HT1A receptors was investigated. The neuroprotective effect of their respective acids forms, cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) and cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), was also analyzed. MTT and immunocytochemistry assays were used to evaluate cell viability. No significant variation on cell viability was per se induced by the lower concentrations tested of CBD and CBG or CBDA and CBGA; however, high concentrations of CBD, CBDA, or CBGA were toxic since a 40–50% reduction of cell viability was observed. CBD and CBG showed neuroprotective effects against H2O2 or rotenone; however, both compounds were more effective in attenuating the rotenone-induced neurotoxicity. A high concentration of CBDA reduced the rotenone-induced neurotoxicity. WAY100635 (5-HT1A receptor antagonist) but not AM251 and AM630 (CB1 or CB2 receptor antagonists, respectively) significantly diminished the neuroprotective effect induced by CBG only against rotenone. Our results contribute to the understanding of the neuroprotective effect of CBD and CBG, showing differences with their acid forms, and also highlight the role of 5-HT1A receptors in the mechanisms of action of CBG.
Background: Cannabinoid receptors play a key role in regulating numerous physiological processes, including immune function and reward signaling. Originally, endocannabinoid contributions to central nervous system processes were attributed to CB1 receptors, but technological advances have confirmed the expression of CB2 receptors in both neurons and glia throughout the brain. Mapping of these receptors is less extensive than for CB1 receptors, and it is still not clear how CB2 receptors contribute to processes that involve endocannabinoid signaling. Objectives: The goal of our study was to assess the effects of peripheral nerve injury and chronic morphine administration, two manipulations that alter endocannabinoid system function, on CB2 receptor expression in the spinal dorsal horn of rats. Methods: Twenty-four male Sprague Dawley rats were assigned to chronic constriction injury (CCI), sham surgery, or pain naïve groups, with half of each group receiving once daily injections of morphine (5 mg/kg) for 10 days. On day 11, spinal cords were isolated and prepared for fluorescent immunohistochemistry. Separate sections from the deep and superficial dorsal horn were stained for neuronal nuclei (NeuN), CD11b, or 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) to mark neurons, microglia, and cell nuclei, respectively. Double labeling was used to assess colocalization of CB2 receptors with NeuN or microglial markers. Quantification of mean pixel intensity for each antibody was assessed using a fluorescent microscope, and CB2 receptor expressing cells were also counted manually. Results: Surgery increased DAPI cell counts in the deep and superficial dorsal horn, with CCI rats displaying increased CD11b labeling ipsilateral to the nerve injury. Surgery also decreased NeuN labeling in both regions, an effect that was blocked by morphine administration. CB2 receptors were expressed, predominantly, on NeuN-labeled cells with significant increases in CB2 receptor labeling across all surgery groups in both deep and superficial areas following morphine administration. Conclusions: Our findings provide supporting evidence for the expression of CB2 receptors on neurons and reveal upregulation of receptor expression in the dorsal spinal cord following surgery and chronic morphine administration, with the latter producing a larger effect. Synergistic effects of morphine-cannabinoid treatments, therefore, may involve CB2-mu opioid receptor interactions, pointing to novel therapeutic treatments for a variety of medical conditions.
While cannabis is perceived as a relatively safe drug by the public, accumulating clinical data suggest detrimental cardiovascular effects of cannabinoids. Cannabis has been legalized in several countries and jurisdictions recently. Experimental studies specifically targeting cannabinoids’ effects on the cerebral vasculature are rare. There is evidence for transient vasoconstrictive effects of cannabinoids in the peripheral and cerebral vasculature in a complex interplay of vasodilation and vasoconstriction. Vasoreactivity to cannabinoids is dependent on the specific molecules, their metabolites and dose, baseline vascular tone, and vessel characteristics as well as experimental conditions and animal species. We systematically review the currently available literature of experimental results in in vivo and in vitro animal studies, examining cannabinoids’ effects on circulation and reactive vasodilation or vasoconstriction, with a particular focus on the cerebral vascular bed.
Bidirectional and functional relationships between glucocorticoids and the endocannabinoid system have been demonstrated. Here, I review the interaction between the endocannabinoid and glucocorticoid/stress systems. Specifically, stress is known to produce rapid changes in endocannabinoid signaling in stress-responsive brain regions. In turn, the endocannabinoid system plays an important role in the downregulation and habituation of hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenocortical (HPA) axis activity in response to stress. Glucocorticoids also recruit the endocannabinoid system to exert rapid negative feedback control of the HPA axis during stress. It became increasingly clear, however, that cannabinoid CB1 receptors are also abundantly expressed in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) and other limbic regions where they modulate emotional arousal effects on memory. Enhancing cannabinoids signaling using exogenous CB1 receptor agonists prevent the effects of acute stress on emotional memory. I propose a model suggesting that the ameliorating effects of exogenously administered cannabinoids on emotional learning after acute stress are mediated by the decrease in the activity of the HPA axis via GABAergic mechanisms in the amygdala.
With the improvement in modern medicine, the world’s human and feline (Felis catus, the domestic cat) population is aging. As the population grows older, there is an increase of age-related diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease in humans and feline cognitive dysfunction in felines, which shares many similarities with Alzheimer’s disease. They both result in cognitive decline and lack effective treatments. In light of their pathological similarities, both occur at old age, and as domestic cats share the human environment and risk factors (cats are considered an indicator to the effect of environmental contaminants on humans as they share exposures and diseases), cats have the potential to be a spontaneous model for Alzheimer’s disease. Classic animal models in many cases fail to predict the results in humans, and a natural model can lead to better prediction of results, thus being both time and cost-effective. The feline disease can be researched in trials that could be simultaneously clinical trials for cats and preclinical trials for humans, also referred to as reverse translational medicine. As both maladies lack effective medical intervention, new potential treatments are merited. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a promising agent that may improve the life of these patients, as it was shown to potentially treat several of the pathologies found in both conditions. yet there is a need for further research in order to establish the benefits and safety of CBD to both human and feline patients.
Background: In recent years, growing concerns about the effects of cannabis use on mental health have renewed interest in cannabis research. In particular, there has been a marked increase in the number of neuroimaging studies of the effects of cannabinoids. We conducted a systematic review to assess the impact of acute cannabis exposure on brain function in humans and in experimental animals. Methods: Papers published until June 2012 were included from EMBASE, Medline, PubMed and LILACS databases following a comprehensive search strategy and pre-determined set of criteria for article selection. Only pharmacological challenge studies involving the acute experimental administration of cannabinoids in occasional or naïve cannabis users, and naïve animals were considered. Results: Two hundred and twenty-four studies were identified, of which 45 met our inclusion criteria. Twenty-four studies were in humans and 21 in animals. Most comprised studies of the acute effects of cannabinoids on brain functioning in the context of either resting state activity or activation during cognitive paradigms. In general, THC and CBD had opposite neurophysiological effects. There were also a smaller number of neurochemical imaging studies: overall, these did not support a central role for increased dopaminergic activity in THC-induced psychosis. There was a considerable degree of methodological heterogeneity in the imaging literature reviewed. Conclusion: Functional neuroimaging studies have provided extensive evidence for the acute modulation of brain function by cannabinoids, but further studies are needed in order to understand the neural mechanisms underlying these effects. Future studies should also consider the need for more standardised methodology and the replication of findings.
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