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Neurochem Int. 2006 Oct;49(5):508-18. Epub 2006 May 26.

Estimation of the hypothermic component in neuroprotection provided by cannabinoids following cerebral ischemia.

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Molecular Neuropathology Group, Institute of Molecular Pathology, University of Copenhagen, 11 Frederik V vej, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.


Cannabinoids have neuroprotective potentials, and the expression of endocannabinoids as well as cannabinoid receptors is induced after cerebral ischemia. They also induce hypothermia by lowering the hypothalamic set point. We have estimated the significance of such hypothermia in ischemic neuroprotection following systemic administration of WIN 55,212-2, a synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist. Results showed that WIN 55,212-2 significantly reduced infarct volumes of rats subjected to focal cerebral ischemia (middle cerebral artery occlusion) and significantly decreased ischemic CA1 damage in rats subjected to global cerebral ischemia (two-vessel occlusion). A significant (approximately 50%) part of this neuroprotection was provided by WIN 55,212-2 induced hypothermia (33.7+/-1.1 degrees C/34.9+/-1.6 degrees C), because prevention of hypothermia by maintaining body core temperatures between 37.0 and 38.0 degrees C dissolved the neuroprotective effect into a hypothermic component and an unidentified component. Finally, the ability of WIN 55,212-2 to reduce levels of the proinflammatory cytokine IFNgamma in the infarcted hemisphere of rats subjected to focal cerebral ischemia required hypothermia. For the cannabinoid WIN 55,212-2, we have isolated and directly demonstrated that hypothermia is only part of, although significant, cannabinoid mediated neuroprotection in both global and focal cerebral ischemia. We conclude that cannabinoids are reliable candidates for drug-induced hypothermia and neuroprotection. These neuroprotective effects of cannabinoids could provide the basis for potential therapeutic uses of cannabinoids and/or endocannabinoids in stroke.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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