We evaluated the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) on seizures and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) levels in an animal model of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were continuously monitored by video-electrocorticography up to 10 weeks after an intraperitoneal kainic acid (15 mg/kg) injection. Sixty-seven days after the induction of status epilepticus and the appearance of spontaneous recurrent seizures in all rats, CBD was dissolved in medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil and administered subcutaneously at 120 mg/kg (n = 10) or 12 mg/kg (n = 10), twice a day for three days. Similarly, the vehicle was administered to ten epileptic rats. Brain levels of PPARγ immunoreactivity were compared to those of six healthy controls. CBD at 120 mg/kg abolished the seizures in 50% of rats (p = 0.033 vs. pre-treatment, Fisher's exact test) and reduced total seizure duration (p < 0.05, Tukey Test) and occurrence (p < 0.05). PPARγ levels increased with CBD in the hippocampal CA1 subfield and subiculum (p < 0.05 vs. controls, Holm-Šidák test), but only the highest dose increased the immunoreactivity in the hippocampal CA3 subfield (p < 0.001), perirhinal cortex, and amygdala (p < 0.05). Overall, these results suggest that the antiseizure effects of CBD are associated with upregulation of PPARγ in the hippocampal CA3 region.
Keywords: cannabidiol; cannabinoids; drug-resistant epilepsy; kainic acid; nuclear receptors; peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma; temporal lobe epilepsy.