Cannabinoids may provide an effective treatment option for Alzheimer’s disease, according to new research published in the European Journal of Pharmacology, and e-published ahead of print by the U.S. National Institute of Health.
“Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by neuroinflammation, extensive deposits of amyloid-β aggregates, and loss of memory and cognitive abilities”, states the study’s abstract. “The brains of patients with AD [Alzheimer’s disease] show increased expression of cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2) receptors and glial markers. CB2 receptors act as a negative feedback regulator; when activated by a CB2 agonist, they can help limit the extent of the neuroinflammatory response and the subsequent development of neuronal damage in the central nervous system.”
In a double transgenic APP/PS1 mice model of AD, researchers evaluated the effect of a CB2 agonist (meant to mimic the effects of cannabinoids) on several neuropathological conditions of AD including “amyloid deposition, inflammatory reaction, Sox2 (sex-determining region Y-box 2) expression, and spatial memory.”
Activation of microglia CB2 receptors “suppressed neuroinflammation, demonstrated by decreased immunosignal of Iba1 in the hippocampal CA1 and dentate gyrus (DG) areas, promoted clearance of amyloid plaques in the DG area, restored Sox2 expression, and promoted recovery of the neuronal synaptic plasticity in hippocampal CA1.”
In addition, treatment with the CB2 agonist “improved the behavioral performance in the Morris water maze in APP/PS1mice.”
Researchers conclude that; “Collectively, these findings suggest that MDA7 [CB2 agonist] has a potential therapeutic effect in the setting of AD.”
The full study can be found by clicking here.