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Title: Cytotoxicity of synthetic cannabinoids on primary neuronal cells of the forebrain: the involvement of cannabinoid CB{sub 1} receptors and apoptotic cell death

The 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. Cytotoxicity induced by synthetic cannabinoid (CP-55,940, CP-47,497, CP-47,497-C8, HU-210, JWH-018, JWH-210, AM-2201, and MAM-2201) 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 CB{sub 1} receptor antagonist AM251, but not with the selective CB{sub 2} 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 CB{sub 1} receptor, but not by the CB{sub 2} receptor, and further suggest 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.more » - Highlights: • Synthetic cannabinoids (classical cannabinoids, non-classical cannabinoids, and aminoalkylindole derivatives) induce cytotoxicity in mouse forebrain cultures. • Synthetic cannabinoid-induced cytotoxicity towards forebrain cultures is mediated by the CB{sub 1} receptor, but not by the CB{sub 2} receptor, and involves caspase-dependent apoptosis. • A high concentration of synthetic cannabinoids may be toxic to neuronal cells that express CB{sub 1} receptors.« less
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology; Journal Volume: 274; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Copyright (c) 2013 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, All rights reserved.; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States