Activation of cannabinoid receptors prevents antigen-induced asthma-like reaction in guinea pigs

J Cell Mol Med. 2008 Dec;12(6A):2381-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1582-4934.2008.00258.x. Epub 2008 Feb 4.


In this study we evaluated the effects of the CB1/CB2 cannabinoid receptor agonist CP55, 940 (CP) on antigen-induced asthma-like reaction in sensitized guinea pigs and we tested the ability of the specific CB2 receptor antagonist SR144528 (SR) and CB1 receptor antagonist AM251 (AM) to interfere with the effects of CP. Ovalbumin-sensitized guinea pigs placed in a respiratory chamber were challenged with the antigen given by aerosol. CP (0.4 mg/kg b.wt.) was given i.p. 3 hrs before ovalbumin challenge. Sixty minutes before CP administration, some animals were treated i.p. with either AM, or SR, or both (0.1 mg/kg b.wt.). Respiratory parameters were recorded and quantified. Lung tissue specimens were then taken for histopathological and morphometric analyses and for eosinophilic major basic protein immunohistochemistry. Moreover, myeloperoxidase activity, 8-hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine, cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) and guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) levels, and CB1 and CB2 receptor protein expression by Western blotting were evaluated in lung tissue extracts. In the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, the levels of prostaglandin D2 and tumour necrosis factor-alpha TNF-alpha were measured. Ovalbumin challenge caused marked abnormalities in the respiratory, morphological and biochemical parameters assayed. Treatment with CP significantly reduced these abnormalities. Pre-treatment with SR, AM or both reverted the protective effects of CP, indicating that both CB1 and CB2 receptors are involved in lung protection. The noted treatments did not change the expression of cannabinoid receptor proteins, as shown by Western blotting. These findings suggest that targeting cannabinoid receptors could be a novel preventative therapeutic strategy in asthmatic patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 8-Hydroxy-2'-Deoxyguanosine
  • Animals
  • Antigens / administration & dosage
  • Asthma / etiology
  • Asthma / pathology
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Asthma / prevention & control*
  • Camphanes / pharmacology
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism
  • Cyclohexanols / pharmacology
  • DNA Damage / drug effects
  • Deoxyguanosine / analogs & derivatives
  • Deoxyguanosine / metabolism
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes / drug effects
  • Leukocytes / pathology
  • Lung / drug effects
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Mast Cells / drug effects
  • Mast Cells / physiology
  • Models, Biological
  • Ovalbumin / immunology
  • Piperidines / pharmacology
  • Prostaglandin D2 / metabolism
  • Pyrazoles / pharmacology
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1 / agonists*
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB2 / agonists*
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB2 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism


  • Antigens
  • Camphanes
  • Cyclohexanols
  • Piperidines
  • Pyrazoles
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB2
  • SR 144528
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • AM 251
  • 3-(2-hydroxy-4-(1,1-dimethylheptyl)phenyl)-4-(3-hydroxypropyl)cyclohexanol
  • 8-Hydroxy-2'-Deoxyguanosine
  • Ovalbumin
  • Cyclic AMP
  • Deoxyguanosine
  • Prostaglandin D2