Several studies demonstrated that cannabinoids reduce tumor growth, inhibit angiogenesis, and decrease cancer cell migration. As these molecules are well tolerated, it would be interesting to investigate the potential benefit of newly synthesized compounds, binding cannabinoid receptors (CBRs). In this study, we describe the synthesis and biological effect of 2-oxo-1,8-naphthyridine-3-carboxamide derivative LV50, a new compound with high CB2 receptor (CB2R) affinity. We demonstrated that it decreases viability of Jurkat leukemia cells, evaluated by Trypan Blue and 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT), but mainly induces a proapoptotic effect. We observed an increase of a hypodiploid peak by propidium iodide staining and changes in nuclear morphology by Hoechst 33258. These data were confirmed by a significant increase of Annexin V staining, cleavage of the nuclear enzyme poly(ADP-ribose)-polymerase (PARP), and caspases activation. In addition, in order to exclude that LV50 non-specifically triggers death of all normal leukocytes, we tested the new compound on normal peripheral blood lymphocytes, excluding the idea of general cytotoxicity. To characterize the involvement of CB2R in the anti-proliferative and proapoptotic effect of LV50, cells were pretreated with a specific CB2R antagonist and the obtained data showed reverse results. Thus, we suggest a link between inhibition of cell survival and proapoptotic activity of the new compound that elicits this effect as selective CB2R agonist.
Keywords: Annexin V; CB2 receptor; Jurkat leukemia cells; apoptosis; cannabinoid; mitochondrial membrane potential.