An important new study published by the National Institute of Health has found that activation of the endocannabinoid system – something done naturally by cannabinoids – can attenuate newborn brain injury caused by germinal matrix hemorrhages, which is one of the most common and devastating cerebrovascular events that affect premature infants.
For the study, researchers investigated the effects of a cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2R) agonist – meant to mimic the effect of cannabinoids – on young rats with germinal matrix hemorrhages (GMH).
“We demonstrated that activation of CB2R played a key role in attenuating brain edema, neuronal degeneration, microglial accumulation and the phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase (p-ERK) protein level 24 h following GMH”, says researchers. “Overall, these findings suggest that activation of the endocannabinoid system might attenuate inflammation-induced secondary brain injury after GMH in rats by reducing microglia accumulation through a mechanism involving ERK dephosphorylation.”
The study concludes; “Enhancing CB2R activation is a potential treatment to slow down the course of GMH in preterm newborns.
The results mirror those of a study published in January in the journal Brain Research, which found that; “This current study suggests a potential clinical utility for CB2R agonists as a potential therapy to reduce neurological injury and improve patient outcomes after GMH.”