Neuroprotective Effects of Cannabidiol in Hypoxic Ischemic Insult. The Therapeutic Window in Newborn Mice

CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2017;16(1):102-108. doi: 10.2174/1871527315666160927110305.


Background: A relevant therapeutic time window (TTW) is an important criterion for considering the clinical relevance of a substance preventing newborn hypoxic-ischemic (HI) brain damage.

Objective: To test the TTW of the neuroprotective effects of cannabidol (CBD), a non-psychoactive cannabinoid in a model of newborn HI brain damage.

Method: 9-10 day-old C57BL6 mice underwent a HI insult (10% oxygen for 90 min after left carotid artery electrocoagulation). Then, CBD 1 mg/kg or vehicle were administered s.c. 15 min, or 1, 3, 6, 12, 18 or 24 h after the end of the HI insult. Seven days later brain damage was assessed using T2W Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan (ipsilateral hemisphere volume loss, IVHL) and histological studies: Nissl staining (neuropathological score), TUNEL staining (apoptotic damage) and immunohistochemistry with glial fibrillary acidic protein (astrocyte viability) or ionized calcium binding adaptor molecule (microglial activation).

Results: CBD administered up to 18 h after HI reduced IHVL and neuropathological score by 60%, TUNEL+ count by 90% and astrocyte damage by 50%. In addition, CBD blunted the HI-induced increase in microglial population. When CBD administration was delayed 24 h, however, the neuroprotective effect was lost in terms of IHVL, apoptosis or astrogliosis reduction.

Conclusion: CBD shows a TTW of 18 h when administered to HI newborn mice, which represents a broader TTW than reported for other neuroprotective treatments including hypothermia.

Keywords: Cannabidiol; hypoxia-ischemia; mice; newborn; therapeutic window..

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Astrocytes / drug effects
  • Astrocytes / pathology
  • Cannabidiol / administration & dosage
  • Cannabidiol / therapeutic use*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Gliosis
  • Hypoxia-Ischemia, Brain / drug therapy*
  • Hypoxia-Ischemia, Brain / pathology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Nick-End Labeling
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microglia / drug effects
  • Microglia / pathology
  • Neuroprotective Agents / administration & dosage
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use*


  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Cannabidiol