Ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) is a pivotal mechanism of liver damage following liver transplantation or hepatic surgery. We have investigated the effects of cannabidiol(CBD), the non-psychotropic constituent of marijuana, in a mouse model of hepatic I/R injury. I/R triggered time-dependent increases/changes in markers of liver injury (serum transaminases), hepatic oxidative/nitrative stress (4-hydroxy-2-nonenal, nitrotyrosine content/staining, gp91phox and inducible nitric oxide synthase mRNA), mitochondrial dysfunction (decreased complex I activity), inflammation (tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), cyclooxygenase 2, macrophage inflammatory protein-1α/2, inter-cellular adhesion molecule 1 mRNA levels, tissue neutrophil infiltration, nuclear factor kappa B (NF-KB) activation), stress signaling (p38MAPK and JNK) and cell death (DNA fragmentation, PARP activity, and TUNEL). CBD significantly reduced the extent of liver inflammation, oxidative/nitrative stress and cell death, and also attenuated the bacterial endotoxin-triggered NF-KB activation and TNF-α production in isolated Kupffer cells, likewise the adhesion molecules expression in primary human liver sinusoidal endothelial cells stimulated with TNF-α, and attachment of human neutrophils to the activated endothelium. These protective effects were preserved in CB2 knockout mice and were not prevented by CB1/2 antagonists in vitro. Thus, CBD may represent a novel, protective strategy against I/R injury by attenuating key inflammatory pathways and oxidative/nitrative tissue injury, independent from classical CB1/2 receptors.
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