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Br J Pharmacol. 2011 Apr;162(7):1650-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2010.01179.x.

Cannabidiol improves brain and liver function in a fulminant hepatic failure-induced model of hepatic encephalopathy in mice.

Author information

1
Department of Human Nutrition and Metabolism, Braun School of Public Health, Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical School, Jerusalem, Israel. yosefa@md.huji.ac.il

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:

Hepatic encephalopathy is a neuropsychiatric disorder of complex pathogenesis caused by acute or chronic liver failure. We investigated the effects of cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive constituent of Cannabis sativa with anti-inflammatory properties that activates the 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor 5-HT(1A) , on brain and liver functions in a model of hepatic encephalopathy associated with fulminant hepatic failure induced in mice by thioacetamide.

EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH:

Female Sabra mice were injected with either saline or thioacetamide and were treated with either vehicle or cannabidiol. Neurological and motor functions were evaluated 2 and 3 days, respectively, after induction of hepatic failure, after which brains and livers were removed for histopathological analysis and blood was drawn for analysis of plasma liver enzymes. In a separate group of animals, cognitive function was tested after 8 days and brain 5-HT levels were measured 12 days after induction of hepatic failure.

KEY RESULTS:

Neurological and cognitive functions were severely impaired in thioacetamide-treated mice and were restored by cannabidiol. Similarly, decreased motor activity in thioacetamide-treated mice was partially restored by cannabidiol. Increased plasma levels of ammonia, bilirubin and liver enzymes, as well as enhanced 5-HT levels in thioacetamide-treated mice were normalized following cannabidiol administration. Likewise, astrogliosis in the brains of thioacetamide-treated mice was moderated after cannabidiol treatment.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS:

Cannabidiol restores liver function, normalizes 5-HT levels and improves brain pathology in accordance with normalization of brain function. Therefore, the effects of cannabidiol may result from a combination of its actions in the liver and brain.

PMID:
21182490
PMCID:
PMC3057300
DOI:
10.1111/j.1476-5381.2010.01179.x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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