Background: Cannabidiol (CBD), one major nonintoxicating phytocannabinoid from Cannabis sativa demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects in animal models of several inflammatory conditions, including arthritis. However, it is still unknown which cell types mediate these anti-inflammatory effects of CBD, and, since CBD binds to a plethora of receptors and enzymes, it is complicated to pinpoint its mechanism of action. In this study, we elucidate the effects of CBD on B cells and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) in respect to survival, calcium mobilization, drug uptake, and cytokine (IL-6, IL-10, and TNF) and immunoglobulin production. Methods: Modulation of intracellular calcium and drug uptake in B cells was determined by using the fluorescent dyes Cal-520 and PoPo3, respectively. Cytokine and immunoglobulin production was evaluated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. PBMC composition and B cell survival after CBD treatment was assessed by flow cytometry. Results: B cells express two major target receptors for CBD, TRPV2 (transient receptor potential vanilloid 2) and TRPA1 (transient receptor potential ankyrin 1), which are not regulated by B cell activation. CBD increased intracellular calcium levels in mouse and human B cells, which was accompanied by enhanced uptake of PoPo3. These effects were not dependent on transient receptor potential channel activation. CBD increased the number of early apoptotic B cells at the expense of viable cells and diminished interleukin (IL)-10 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) production when activated T cell independently. In PBMCs, CBD increased IL-10 production when B cells were activated T cell dependent, while decreasing TNF levels when activated T cell independently. In PBMC/rheumatoid synovial fibroblast cocultures, CBD reduced IL-10 production when B cells were activated T cell independently. Immunoglobulin M production was augmented by CBD when B cells were activated with CpG. Conclusion: CBD is able to provide pro- and anti-inflammatory effects in isolated B cells and PBMCs. This is dependent on the activating stimulus (T cell dependent or independent) and concentration of CBD. Therefore, CBD might be used to dampen B cell activity in autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, in which B cells are activated by specific autoantigens.
Keywords: B cells; calcium; cannabidiol; cannabis; cytokines; rheumatoid arthritis.