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Cell Biochem Funct. 2014 Oct;32(7):612-9. doi: 10.1002/cbf.3058. Epub 2014 Sep 3.

Oxidative stress and cannabinoid receptor expression in type-2 diabetic rat pancreas following treatment with Δ⁹-THC.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Istanbul Bilim University, Istanbul, Turkey; Department of Medical Biology, Faculty of Cerrahpasa Medicine, Istanbul University, Istanbul, Turkey.


The objectives of study were (a) to determine alteration of feeding, glucose level and oxidative stress and (b) to investigate expression and localization of cannabinoid receptors in type-2 diabetic rat pancreas treated with Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ(9)-THC). Rats were randomly divided into four groups: control, Δ(9)-THC, diabetes and diabetes + Δ(9)-THC groups. Diabetic rats were treated with a single dose of nicotinamide (85 mg/kg) 15 min before injection of streptozotocin (65 mg/kg). Δ(9)-THC was administered intraperitoneally at 3 mg/kg/day for 7 days. Body weights and blood glucose level of rats in all groups were measured on days 0, 7, 14 and 21. On day 15 after the Δ(9)-THC injections, pancreatic tissues were removed. Blood glucose levels and body weights of diabetic rats treated with Δ(9)-THC did not show statistically significant changes when compared with the diabetic animals on days 7, 14 and 21. Treatment with Δ(9)-THC significantly increased pancreas glutathione levels, enzyme activities of superoxide dismutase and catalase in diabetes compared with non-treatment diabetes group. The cannabinoid 1 receptor was found in islets, whereas the cannabinoid 2 receptor was found in pancreatic ducts. Their localization in cells was both nuclear and cytoplasmic. We can suggest that Δ(9) -THC may be an important agent for the treatment of oxidative damages induced by diabetes. However, it must be supported with anti-hyperglycaemic agents. Furthermore, the present study for the first time emphasizes that Δ(9)-THC may improve pancreatic cells via cannabinoid receptors in diabetes. The aim of present study was to elucidate the effects of Δ(9)-THC, a natural cannabinoid receptor agonist, on the expression and localization of cannabinoid receptors, and oxidative stress statue in type-2 diabetic rat pancreas. Results demonstrate that the cannabinoid receptors are presented in both Langerhans islets and duct regions. The curative effects of Δ(9)-THC can be occurred via activation of cannabinoid receptors in diabetic rat pancreas. Moreover, it may provide a protective effect against oxidative damage induced by diabetes. Thus, it is suggested that Δ(9)-THC can be a candidate for therapeutic alternatives of diabetes symptoms.


cannabinoid receptors; gene expression; oxidative stress; type-2 diabetes; Δ9-THC

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