Δ8-Tetrahydrocannabivarin prevents hepatic ischaemia/reperfusion injury by decreasing oxidative stress and inflammatory responses through cannabinoid CB2 receptors

Sándor Bátkai, Partha Mukhopadhyay, Bėla Horváth, Mohanraj Rajesh, Rachel Y Gao, Anu Mahadevan, Mukkanti Amere, Natalia Battista, Aron H Lichtman, Lisa A Gauson, Mauro Maccarrone, Roger G Pertwee, Pál Pacher
British Journal of Pharmacology 2012, 165 (8): 2450-61

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Activation of cannabinoid CB(2) receptors protects against various forms of ischaemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury. Δ(8) -Tetrahydrocannabivarin (Δ(8) -THCV) is a synthetic analogue of the plant cannabinoid Δ(9) -tetrahydrocannabivarin, which exhibits anti-inflammatory effects in rodents involving activation of CB(2) receptors. Here, we assessed effects of Δ(8) -THCV and its metabolite 11-OH-Δ(8) -THCV on CB(2) receptors and against hepatic I/R injury.

EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH: Effects in vitro were measured with human CB(2) receptors expressed in CHO cells. Hepatic I/R injury was assessed in mice with 1h ischaemia and 2, 6 or 24h reperfusion in vivo.

KEY RESULTS: Displacement of [(3) H]CP55940 by Δ(8) -THCV or 11-OH-Δ(8) -THCV from specific binding sites in CHO cell membranes transfected with human CB(2) receptors (hCB(2) ) yielded K(i) values of 68.4 and 59.95 nM respectively. Δ(8) -THCV or 11-OH-Δ(8) -THCV inhibited forskolin-stimulated cAMP production by hCB(2) CHO cells (EC(50) = 12.95 and 14.3 nM respectively). Δ(8) -THCV, given before induction of I/R, attenuated hepatic injury (measured by serum alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase levels), decreased tissue protein carbonyl adducts, 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal, the chemokines CCL3 and CXCL2,TNF-α, intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (CD54) mRNA levels, tissue neutrophil infiltration, caspase 3/7 activity and DNA fragmentation. Protective effects of Δ(8) -THCV against liver damage were still present when the compound was given at the beginning of reperfusion. Pretreatment with a CB(2) receptor antagonist attenuated the protective effects of Δ(8) -THCV, while a CB(1) antagonist tended to enhance it.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Δ(8) -THCV activated CB(2) receptors in vitro, and decreased tissue injury and inflammation in vivo, associated with I/R partly via CB(2) receptor activation.

LINKED ARTICLES: This article is part of a themed section on Cannabinoids in Biology and Medicine. To view the other articles in this section visit To view Part I of Cannabinoids in Biology and Medicine visit

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