Cannabidiol Enhances Microglial Beta-Amyloid Peptide Phagocytosis and Clearance via Vanilloid Family Type 2 Channel Activation

Int J Mol Sci. 2022 May 11;23(10):5367. doi: 10.3390/ijms23105367.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is associated with the accumulation and aggregation of amyloid in the brain. The cation channel TRPV2 may mediate the pathological changes in mild cognitive impairment. A high-affinity agonist of TRPV2 named cannabidiol is one of the candidate drugs for AD. However, the molecular mechanism of cannabidiol via TRPV2 in AD remains unknown. The present study investigated whether cannabidiol enhances the phagocytosis and clearance of microglial Aβ via the TRPV2 channel. We used a human dataset, mouse primary neuron and microglia cultures, and AD model mice to evaluate TRPV2 expression and the ability of microglial amyloid-β phagocytosis in vivo and in vitro. The results revealed that TRPV2 expression was reduced in the cortex and hippocampus of AD model mice and AD patients. Cannabidiol enhanced microglial amyloid-β phagocytosis through TRPV2 activation, which increased the mRNA expression of the phagocytosis-related receptors, but knockdown of TRPV2 or Trem2 rescued the expression. TRPV2-mediated effects were also dependent on PDK1/Akt signaling, a pathway in which autophagy was indispensable. Furthermore, cannabidiol treatment successfully attenuated neuroinflammation while simultaneously improving mitochondrial function and ATP production via TRPV2 activation. Therefore, TRPV2 is proposed as a potential therapeutic target in AD, while CBD is a promising drug candidate for AD.

Keywords: Aβ1-42; TRPV2; autophagy; cannabidiol; phagocytosis.

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease* / drug therapy
  • Alzheimer Disease* / metabolism
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Calcium Channels* / genetics
  • Calcium Channels* / metabolism
  • Cannabidiol* / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Microglia / drug effects
  • Microglia / metabolism
  • Phagocytosis
  • Receptors, Immunologic / genetics
  • Receptors, Immunologic / metabolism
  • TRPV Cation Channels* / agonists
  • TRPV Cation Channels* / genetics
  • TRPV Cation Channels* / metabolism


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Calcium Channels
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • TRPV Cation Channels
  • TRPV2 protein, human
  • Trem2 protein, mouse
  • Trpv2 protein, mouse
  • Cannabidiol