Cannabidiol attenuates generalized tonic-clonic and suppresses limbic seizures in the genetically epilepsy-prone rats (GEPR-3) strain

Pharmacol Rep. 2022 Oct 4. doi: 10.1007/s43440-022-00416-6. Online ahead of print.


Background: Cannabidiol (CBD) has been of rapidly growing interest in the epilepsy research field due to its antiseizure properties in preclinical models and patients with pharmacoresistant epilepsy. However, little is known about CBD effects in genetic models of epilepsies. Here we assessed CBD dose-response effects in the Genetically Epilepsy Prone Rats (GEPR-3) strain, which exhibits two types of epileptic seizures, brainstem-dependent generalized tonic-clonic seizures and limbic seizures.

Methods: GEPR-3 s were submitted to the audiogenic seizure (AGS) protocol. Acute AGS are brainstem-dependent generalized tonic-clonic, while repeated AGS (or audiogenic kindling, AK), an epileptogenic process, leads to increased AGS severity and limbic seizure expression. Therefore, two different dose-response studies were performed, one for generalized tonic-clonic seizures and the other for limbic seizures. CBD time-course effects were assessed 2, 4, and 6 h after drug injection. GEPR-3 s were submitted to within-subject tests, receiving intraperitoneal injections of CBD (1, 10, 50, 100 mg/kg/ml) and vehicle.

Results: CBD dose-dependently attenuated generalized tonic-clonic seizures in GEPR-3 s; CBD 50 and 100 mg/kg reduced brainstem-dependent seizure severity and duration. In fully kindled GEPR-3 s, CBD 10 mg/kg reduced limbic seizure severity and suppressed limbic seizure expression in 75% of animals.

Conclusions: CBD was effective against brainstem and limbic seizures in the GEPR-3 s. These results support the use of CBD treatment for epilepsies by adding new information about the pharmacological efficacy of CBD in suppressing inherited seizure susceptibility in the GEPR-3 s.

Keywords: Anticonvulsant effects; Cannabinoids; Dose–response study; Drug screening; Genetic models of epilepsy; Preclinical model.