Cannabidiol Anticonvulsant Effects Against Lithium-Pilocarpine-Induced Status Epilepticus in Male Rats Are Mediated by Neuroinflammation Modulation and Cannabinoids 1 (CB1), But Not CB2 and GABAA Receptors

Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2023 Nov 17. doi: 10.1089/can.2023.0067. Online ahead of print.


Background: Status epilepticus (SE) is a series of seizures that can lead to serious neurological damages. Cannabidiol (CBD) is extracted from the cannabis plant, which has been approved as an antiseizure medication. This study aimed to determine the efficacy of various doses of CBD on lithium-pilocarpine-induced SE in rats and possible involvement of multiple pharmacological pathways. We hypothesized that cannabinoid receptors type 1 (CB1) and CB2, as well as GABAA receptors, might have important roles in the anticonvulsant effects of CBD against SE by its anti-inflammatory effects. Methods: SE was induced by intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of lithium (127 mg/kg, i.p.) and pilocarpine (60 mg/kg, i.p., 20 h after lithium). Forty-two male rats were divided into seven groups (including control and sham groups), and the treated groups received different doses of CBD (1, 3, 5, 10, and 25 mg/kg, i.p.). SE score was recorded over the next 2 h following pilocarpine injection. Then, we measured the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, including interleukin (IL)-lβ and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, using ELISA kits. Also we analyzed the expression of CB1, CB2, and GABAA receptors using the Western blot technique. Results: CBD at 5 mg/kg significantly reduced Racine's scale and duration of seizures, and increased the onset time of seizure. Moreover, CBD 5 mg/kg caused significant reductions in the elevated levels of IL-lβ and TNF-α, as well as a significant increase in the decreased level of CB1 receptor expression compared to the control group. In other word, CBD reverted the effects of SE in terms of neuroinflammation and CB1 receptor. Based on the obtained results, CBD was not able to restore the declined levels of CB2 or GABAA receptors. Conclusion: Our study found anticonvulsant effects of CBD on the SE rat model induced by lithium-pilocarpine with probable involvement of CB1 receptors and anti-inflammatory effects by reducing IL-1β and TNF-α markers independent of CB2 and GABAA receptors.

Keywords: GABA; cannabidiol; cannabinoid receptors (CB); inflammation; lithium-pilocarpine; status epilepticus seizure.