The Memory Benefit to Aged APP/PS1 Mice from Long-Term Intranasal Treatment of Low-Dose THC

Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Apr 12;23(8):4253. doi: 10.3390/ijms23084253.


THC has been used as a promising treatment approach for neurological disorders, but the highly psychoactive effects have largely warned off many scientists from pursuing it further. We conducted an intranasal treatment using low-dose THC on 12-month-old APP/PS1 mice daily for 3 months to overcome any potential psychoactive response induced by the systemic delivery. Our results demonstrate that the THC nasal treatment at 0.002 and 0.02 mg/kg significantly slowed the memory decline compared to that in the vehicle-treated transgenic mouse control group. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay showed that the Aβ1-40 and 1-42 peptides decreased in the THC-treated groups. The Western blot data indicate that long-term low-dose THC intranasal administration promoted p-tau level reduction and mitochondrial function marker redistribution. The blood biochemical parameter data demonstrate some insignificant changes in cytokine, immunoglobulin, and immune cell profiles during intranasal THC treatment. Intranasal delivery is a non-invasive and convenient method that rapidly targets therapeutics to the brain, minimizing systemic exposure to avoid unwanted adverse effects. Our study provides new insights into the role of low-dose THC intranasal treatment as a pharmacological strategy to counteract alterations in Alzheimer's disease-related cognitive performance.

Keywords: APP/PS1; THC; amyloid beta; p-tau.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intranasal
  • Alzheimer Disease* / drug therapy
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor* / genetics
  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dronabinol / pharmacology
  • Dronabinol / therapeutic use
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Presenilin-1


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor
  • Presenilin-1
  • Dronabinol