Background and purpose: Previous findings have indicated that a cannabinoid, such as Δ(9)-THCV, which has antioxidant properties and the ability to activate CB(2) receptors but to block CB(1) , might be a promising therapy for alleviating symptoms and delaying neurodegeneration in Parkinson's disease (PD).
Experimental approach: The ability of Δ(9)-THCV to reduce motor inhibition and provide neuroprotection was investigated in rats lesioned with 6-hydroxydopamine and in mice lesioned with lipopolysaccharide (LPS).
Key results: Acute administration of Δ(9)-THCV attenuated the motor inhibition caused by 6-hydroxydopamine, presumably through changes in glutamatergic transmission. Moreover, chronic administration of Δ(9)-THCV attenuated the loss of tyrosine hydroxylase-positive neurones caused by 6-hydroxydopamine in the substantia nigra, through an effect related to its antioxidant properties (it was reproduced by cannabidiol -enriched botanical extract). In addition, CB(2) receptor-deficient mice responded to 6-hydroxydopamine in a similar manner to wild-type animals, and CB(2) receptors were poorly up-regulated in the rat substantia nigra in response to 6-hydroxydopamine. By contrast, the substantia nigra of mice that had been injected with LPS exhibited a greater up-regulation of CB(2) receptors. In these animals, Δ(9)-THCV also caused preservation of tyrosine hydroxylase-positive neurones. This effect probably involved CB(2) receptors as it was also elicited by the selective CB(2) receptor agonist, HU-308, and CB(2) receptor-deficient mice were more vulnerable to LPS lesions. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS Given its antioxidant properties and its ability to activate CB(2) but to block CB(1) receptors, Δ(9)-THCV has a promising pharmacological profile for delaying disease progression in PD and also for ameliorating parkinsonian symptoms.
© 2011 The Authors. British Journal of Pharmacology © 2011 The British Pharmacological Society.