Protective effects of cannabidiol on lesion-induced intervertebral disc degeneration

PLoS One. 2014 Dec 17;9(12):e113161. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0113161. eCollection 2014.

Abstract

Disc degeneration is a multifactorial process that involves hypoxia, inflammation, neoinnervation, accelerated catabolism, and reduction in water and glycosaminoglycan content. Cannabidiol is the main non-psychotropic component of the Cannabis sativa with protective and anti-inflammatory properties. However, possible therapeutic effects of cannabidiol on intervertebral disc degeneration have not been investigated yet. The present study investigated the effects of cannabidiol intradiscal injection in the coccygeal intervertebral disc degeneration induced by the needle puncture model using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and histological analyses. Disc injury was induced in the tail of male Wistar rats via a single needle puncture. The discs selected for injury were punctured percutaneously using a 21-gauge needle. MRI and histological evaluation were employed to assess the results. The effects of intradiscal injection of cannabidiol (30, 60 or 120 nmol) injected immediately after lesion were analyzed acutely (2 days) by MRI. The experimental group that received cannabidiol 120 nmol was resubmitted to MRI examination and then to histological analyses 15 days after lesion/cannabidiol injection. The needle puncture produced a significant disc injury detected both by MRI and histological analyses. Cannabidiol significantly attenuated the effects of disc injury induced by the needle puncture. Considering that cannabidiol presents an extremely safe profile and is currently being used clinically, these results suggest that this compound could be useful in the treatment of intervertebral disc degeneration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cannabidiol / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Injections
  • Intervertebral Disc / drug effects
  • Intervertebral Disc / pathology
  • Intervertebral Disc Degeneration / pathology
  • Intervertebral Disc Degeneration / prevention & control*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Time Factors

Substances

  • Cannabidiol

Grant support

This research was supported by CAPES/PNPD, Brazil. The equipment and drugs used in this work were acquired from FAPESP, CNPq, and CAPES, Brazil. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.