Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) share the pathological hallmark of intracellular neurofibrillary tangles, which result from the hyperphosphorylation of microtubule associated protein tau. The P301S mutation in human tau carried by TAU58/2 transgenic mice results in brain pathology and behavioural deficits relevant to FTD and AD. The phytocannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) exhibits properties beneficial for multiple pathological processes evident in dementia. Therefore, 14-month-old female TAU58/2 transgenic and wild type-like (WT) littermates were treated with 100 mg/kg CBD or vehicle i.p. starting three weeks prior to conducting behavioural paradigms relevant to FTD and AD. TAU58/2 females exhibited impaired motor function, reduced bodyweight and less anxiety behaviour compared to WT. Impaired spatial reference memory of vehicle-treated transgenic mice was restored by chronic CBD treatment. Chronic CBD also reduced anxiety-like behaviours and decreased contextual fear-associated freezing in all mice. Chronic remedial CBD treatment ameliorated several disease-relevant phenotypes in 14-month-old TAU58/2 transgenic mice, suggesting potential for the treatment of tauopathy-related behavioural impairments including cognitive deficits.
Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Cannabidiol; Frontotemporal dementia; Mice; Spatial memory; Tauopathies.
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