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Neuroscience. 2012 Dec 27;227:313-26. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2012.09.080. Epub 2012 Oct 13.

Cannabinoid receptor subtypes 1 and 2 mediate long-lasting neuroprotection and improve motor behavior deficits after transient focal cerebral ischemia.

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  • 1KeyNeurotek Pharmaceuticals AG, ZENIT Technology Park, Leipziger Straße 44, D-39120 Magdeburg, Germany.


The endocannabinoid system is crucially involved in the regulation of brain activity and inflammation. We have investigated the localization of cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors in adult rat brains before and after focal cerebral ischemia due to endothelin-induced transient occlusion of the middle cerebral artery (eMCAO). Using immunohistochemistry, both receptor subtypes were identified in cortical neurons. After eMCAO, neuronal cell death was accompanied by reduced neuronal CB1 and CB2 receptor-linked immunofluorescence. In parallel, CB1 receptor was found in activated microglia/macrophages 3 days post eMCAO and in astroglia cells at days 3 and 7. CB2 receptor labeling was identified in activated microglia/macrophages or astroglia 3 and 7d ays post ischemia, respectively. In addition, immune competent CD45-positive cells were characterized by pronounced CB2 receptor staining 3 and 7 days post eMCAO. KN38-72717, a potent and selective CB1 and CB2 receptor agonist, revealed a significant, dose-dependent and long-lasting reduction of cortical lesion sizes due to eMCAO, when applied consecutively before, during and after eMCAO. In addition, severe motor deficits of animals suffering from eMCAO were significantly improved by KN38-7271. KN38-7271 remained effective, even if its application was delayed up to 6h post eMCAO. Finally, we show that the endocannabinoid system assembles a comprehensive machinery to defend the brain against the devastating consequences of cerebral ischemia. In summary, this study underlines the therapeutic potential of CB1 and/or CB2 receptor agonists against neurodegenerative diseases or injuries involving acute or chronic imbalances of cerebral blood flow and energy consumption.

Copyright © 2012 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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