Cytotoxicity of synthetic cannabinoids on primary neuronal cells of the forebrain: the involvement of cannabinoid CB1 receptors and apoptotic cell death.
ABSTRACT Abuse of herbal products containing synthetic cannabinoids has become an issue of public concern. The purpose of this paper was to evaluate the acute cytotoxicity of synthetic cannabinoids on mouse brain neuronal cells. Synthetic cannabinoid (CP-55,940, CP-47,497, CP-47,497-C8, HU-210, JWH-018, JWH-210, AM-2201, and MAM-2201)-induced cytotoxicity was examined using forebrain neuronal cultures. These synthetic cannabinoids induced cytotoxicity in the forebrain cultures in a concentration-dependent manner. The cytotoxicity was suppressed by preincubation with the selective CB1 receptor antagonist AM251, but not with the selective CB2 receptor antagonist AM630. Furthermore, Annexin-V-positive cells were found among the treated forebrain cells. Synthetic cannabinoid treatment induced the activation of caspase-3, and preincubation with a caspase-3 inhibitor significantly suppressed the cytotoxicity. These synthetic cannabinoids induced apoptosis through a caspase-3-dependent mechanism in the forebrain cultures. Our results indicate that the cytotoxicity of synthetic cannabinoids towards primary neuronal cells is mediated by the CB1 receptor, but not by the CB2 receptor and further suggests that caspase cascades may play an important role in the apoptosis induced by these synthetic cannabinoids. In conclusion, excessive synthetic cannabinoid abuse may present a serious acute health concern due to neuronal damage or deficits in the brain.
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ABSTRACT: New psychoactive substances (NPS), are now a large group of substances of abuse not yet completely controlled by international drug conventions, which may pose a public health threat. Anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, seizures, hyperthermia and cardiotoxicity are some of the common adverse effects associated with these compounds. In this paper, three case reports taken from the archive of processed cases of the authors' laboratory are presented and discussed to stress the risks of possible adverse consequences for NPS users: in particular, (i) the risk deriving from the difficulty of predicting the actual consumed dose, due to variability of active ingredients concentration in consumed products, (ii) the risk deriving from the difficulty of predicting the actual active ingredients present in consumed products, as opposed to those claimed by the manufacturer, and (iii) the risk deriving from the difficulty of predicting the actual pharmacological and toxicological effects related to the simultaneous consumption of different psychoactive ingredients contained in single products, whose interactions are mostly unknown. Each of them individually provide a source of concern for possible serious health related consequences. However, they should be considered in conjunction with each others, with the worldwide availability of NPS through the web and also with the incessantly growing business derived from the manipulation and synthesis of new substances. The resulting scenario is that of a cultural challenge which demands a global approach from different fields of knowledge.Toxicology Letters 06/2014; 229(1). DOI:10.1016/j.toxlet.2014.06.012 · 3.36 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The designer drug of cathinone family, methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), is a cheap and frequently used psychoactive drug of abuse. However, its mechanism of action, particularly its potential detrimental effect on the developing brain, is largely unknown, despite the fact that pregnant females may occur among the users. The objective of our study was to identify the brain areas sensitive for a possible apoptotic effect of the widely abused MDPV on the developing brain. To this end, we used a mouse model which can be compared with the human fetus of third trimester, considering the developmental stage of the brain. Litters of 7-day-old C57BL/6J mice were treated either with i.p. injection of 10mg/kg b.wt.of MDPV or vehicle (saline), and sacrificed after 24h. Similar dose of MDPV enhanced locomotor activity of pups. The brains were processed for anti-caspase 3 (Casp3) immunohistochemistry and the apoptotic cells were identified and counted. We found prominent increase in the number of apoptotic cells in the piriform cortex, retrosplenial area, hippocampus CA1 and nucleus accumbens, whereas the overall density of cells did not change significantly in these regions. The neurons of the nucleus accumbens appeared to be especially sensitive to MDPV: Casp3-immunoreactive cells marked out the core and shell regions of the accumbens. Highest percentage of apoptotic cells as compared to total cell density was also found in the nucleus accumbens. However, we did not observe the same effect on the brain of adult mice. Thus, MDPV did not seem to increase apoptosis in the mature nervous system. The results are in agreement with the assumption that cathinones (in particular MDPV) may adversely affect neural integrity in the developing CNS.NeuroToxicology 07/2014; 44. DOI:10.1016/j.neuro.2014.07.004 · 3.05 Impact Factor