Cannabidiol alleviates right ventricular fibrosis by inhibiting the transforming growth factor β pathway in monocrotaline-induced pulmonary hypertension in rats

Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2023 Aug;1869(6):166753. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2023.166753. Epub 2023 May 13.


Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-intoxicating compound of Cannabis with anti-fibrotic properties. Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a disease that can lead to right ventricular (RV) failure and premature death. There is evidence that CBD reduces monocrotaline (MCT)-induced PH, including reducing right ventricular systolic pressure (RVSP), vasorelaxant effect on pulmonary arteries, and decreasing expression of profibrotic markers in the lungs. The aim of our study was to investigate the effect of chronic administration of CBD (10 mg/kg daily for 21 days) on profibrotic parameters in the RVs of MCT-induced PH rats. In MCT-induced PH, we found an increase in profibrotic parameters and parameters related to RV dysfunction, i.e. plasma pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP), cardiomyocyte width, interstitial and perivascular fibrosis area, amount of fibroblasts and fibronectin, as well as overexpression of the transforming growth of factor β1 (TGF-β1), galectin-3 (Gal-3), suppressor of mothers against decapentaplegic 2 (SMAD2), phosphorylated SMAD2 (pSMAD2) and alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA). In contrast, vascular endothelial cadherin (VE-cadherin) levels were decreased in the RVs of MCT-induced PH rats. Administration of CBD reduced the amount of plasma NT-proBNP, the width of cardiomyocytes, the amount of fibrosis area, fibronectin and fibroblast expression, as well as decreased the expression of TGF-β1, Gal-3, SMAD2, pSMAD2, and increased the level of VE-cadherin. Overall, CBD has been found to have the anti-fibrotic potential in MCT-induced PH. As such, CBD may act as an adjuvant therapy for PH, however, further detailed investigations are recommended to confirm our promising results.

Keywords: Cannabidiol; Fibrosis; Pulmonary hypertension; Remodeling; Right ventricle; TGF-β1/SMAD2 pathway.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cannabidiol*
  • Fibronectins
  • Fibrosis
  • Heart Failure*
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary* / chemically induced
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary* / drug therapy
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary* / metabolism
  • Monocrotaline
  • Rats
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1 / metabolism


  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Fibronectins
  • Monocrotaline
  • Cannabidiol
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1