Data, initially anecdotal, but recently supported on more solid experimental evidence, suggest that CannaBinoids might be beneficial in the treatment of some of the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
Despite this evidence, there are no data on the possible changes in CannaBinoid CB(1) or CB(2) receptors.
The main molecular targets for the action of CannaBinoids, either in the postmortem Brain of patients with MS or in animal models of this disease.
The present study addressed this question using the model of Experimental Allergic EncephaloMyelitis (EAE) in Lewis rats generated by inoculation of guinea pig Myelin Basic Protein in Freund's adjuvant.
After inoculation, animals were examined daily to detect the appearance of Neurological signs. The first signs appeared around day 10 after inoculation.
Reaching the highest degree by day 13, when animals were sacrificed and their Brains removed and used for analysis of CB(1) receptor binding, mRNA levels, and activation of GTP-binding proteins.
CB(1) receptor binding and mRNA levels were not affected in EAE rats in Brain areas such as the Hippocampus, Limbic structures, and Cerebellum .
However, there was a marked decrease in both parameters in the Caudate-Putamen, both in the Lateral and Medial parts.
Although this decrease did not correspond with decreases in binding in the Nuclei recipient of Striatal output Neurons, which suggests that changes in CB(1) receptors are exclusively located in the cell bodies of Striatal Neurons.
In addition, CB(1) receptor binding, but not mRNA levels, also decreased in the Cerebral Cortex, both in the deep and the superficial layers.
The analysis of [(35)S]GTPgammaS binding after activation of CB(1) receptors with WIN55,212-2, a synthetic agonist, revealed that, despite the decrease in the number of CB(1) receptors in EAE rats.
These were more efficiently coupled to GTP-binding protein-mediated signaling mechanisms in both the Caudate-Putamen and the Cerebral Cortex of these animals.
In summary, these data suggest that the generation of EAE in Lewis rats would be associated with changes in CB(1) receptors in Striatal and Cortical Neurons.
Which might be related to the alleviation of some motor signs observed after the treatment with CannaBinoid receptor agonists in similar models of MS in rodents.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.