Background: The present study was designed to investigate the efficacy of a new formulation of alone, purified cannabidiol (CBD) (>98 %), the main non-psychotropic cannabinoid of Cannabis sativa, as a topical treatment in an experimental model of autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), the most commonly used model for multiple sclerosis (MS). Particularly, we evaluated whether administration of a topical 1 % CBD-cream, given at the time of symptomatic disease onset, could affect the EAE progression and if this treatment could also recover paralysis of hind limbs, qualifying topical-CBD for the symptomatic treatment of MS.
Methods: In order to have a preparation of 1 % of CBD-cream, pure CBD have been solubilized in propylene glycoland basic dense cream O/A. EAE was induced by immunization with myelin oligodendroglial glycoprotein peptide (MOG35-55) in C57BL/6 mice. After EAE onset, mice were allocated into several experimental groups (Naïve, EAE, EAE-1 % CBD-cream, EAE-vehicle cream, CTRL-1 % CBD-cream, CTRL-vehicle cream). Mice were observed daily for signs of EAE and weight loss. At the sacrifice of the animals, which occurred at the 28(th) day from EAE-induction, spinal cord and spleen tissues were collected in order to perform histological evaluation, immunohistochemistry and western blotting analysis.
Results: Achieved results surprisingly show that daily treatment with topical 1 % CBD-cream may exert neuroprotective effects against EAE, diminishing clinical disease score (mean of 5.0 in EAE mice vs 1.5 in EAE + CBD-cream), by recovering of paralysis of hind limbs and by ameliorating histological score typical of disease (lymphocytic infiltration and demyelination) in spinal cord tissues. Also, 1 % CBD-cream is able to counteract the EAE-induced damage reducing release of CD4 and CD8α T cells (spleen tissue localization was quantified about 10,69 % and 35,96 % of positive staining respectively in EAE mice) and expression of the main pro-inflammatory cytokines as well as several other direct or indirect markers of inflammation (p-selectin, IL-10, GFAP, Foxp3, TGF-β, IFN-γ), oxidative injury (Nitrotyrosine, iNOS, PARP) and apoptosis (Cleaved caspase 3).
Conclusion: All these data suggest an interesting new profile of CBD that could lead to its introduction in the clinical management of MS and its associated symptoms at least in association with current conventional therapy.