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Immunobiology. 2010 Aug;215(8):647-57. doi: 10.1016/j.imbio.2009.08.004. Epub 2009 Sep 17.

Cannabinoids and experimental models of multiple sclerosis.

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Division of Clinical Neurology, University of Nottingham, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham NG72UH, UK.


The inflammatory response is a hallmark in the development of autoimmune-mediated neurodegenerative diseases of the central nervous system (CNS). Research on these pathological phenomena is being extensively undertaken and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) serves as a valuable animal model. Studies from this model have generated interesting insights into biological effects of cannabinoids and may, at least to a certain extent, reflect the cannabinoid-mediated protective mechanisms also in human diseases with similar characteristics, such as multiple sclerosis (MS). Cannabinoids are involved in regulation of the immune system. These effects comprise modulation of inflammatory reaction through components of the innate and adaptive immune responses. Cannabinoids also confer neuroprotection and assist neuroregeneration, thus maintaining a balance within the delicate CNS microenvironment and restoring function following pathological condition, commonly driven by neuroinflammation. Continued studies of cannabinoid actions in EAE pathogenesis should be beneficial for the better understanding of the mechanisms governing such a vast array of physiological effects and in development of new therapeutic strategies for the treatment of human neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases.

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