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Studies investigating the mechanisms of the cardioprotective effects of Cannabidiol.

Hepburn, Claire Y.


Claire Y. Hepburn


Stuart F. Cruickshank


The phytocannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) has a complex pharmacology which is thought to include, but is not limited to, an ability to act as an inverse agonist at the CB1 and CB2 receptors and an antagonist of GPR55. Moreover, is has been shown to reduce infarct size and ameliorate reductions in left ventricular function in vivo. These improvements in the pathogenesis of experimental MI are accompanied by a reduction in inflammatory cell migration to the area at risk. More recently it has been shown that CBD is anti-arrhythmic in acute experimental MI. Thus, it was suggested that the cardioprotective effects of CBD might be due to an anti-inflammatory action. In addition, GPR55 receptor activation is acknowledged to mediate mobilisation of intracellular Ca2+ (Ca2+i) which could potentially be pro-arrhythmic and so CBD, as an antagonist may confer cardioprotection via GPR55. However, the receptors and/or mechanisms responsible for mediating the cardioprotective effects of CBD are get to be determined. The present studies were therefore performed to; (1) better understand the pharmacology of CBD by assessing haemodynamic responses to CBD and other cannabinoids ligands in anaesthetised rats, (2) investigate the receptors involved in the anti-arrhythmic effect of CBD in a rat model of coronary artery occlusion (CAO), and (3) investigate if CBD can alter [Ca2+]i in isolated rat cardiomyocytes. The characterisation of the pharmacology of CBD in vivo showed that; firstly, CB1 receptor activation causes a hypotensive response which can be dose-dependently inhibited by AM251; secondly, both CBD and AM251 alone (a CB1 receptor antagonist and GPR55 agonist) can induce vasodepressor responses and finally, CBD can potentiate the AM251-mediated hypotension when co-administered, suggesting possible cross-talk between the CB1 and GPR55. Results from CAO studies showed that CBD and AM251 each have the capacity to reduce arrhythmias. Moreover, when CBD and AM251 were co-administered the anti-arrhythmic capacity of either alone was potentiated. However, the degree of potentiation was dependent on the order of administration, suggesting that more than one receptor is involved in the summative anti-arrhythmic effects. The investigation of cardiomyocyte [Ca2+]i suggested that AM251 can modulate [Ca2+]i at the level of the cardiomyocyte, while CBD cannot. These data give novel insight into the anti-arrhythmic effects of CBD and, moreover, for the first time demonstrate that AM251 is anti-arrhythmic. In addition, these data suggest a role for GPR55 in increasing [Ca2+]i via AM251.


HEPBURN, C.Y. 2014. Studies investigating the mechanisms of the cardioprotective effects of Cannabidiol. Robert Gordon University, PhD thesis.

Thesis Type Thesis
Publication Date May 1, 2014
Deposit Date Jul 24, 2014
Publicly Available Date Jul 24, 2014
Keywords Myocardial Ischaemia; Arrhythmias; Cannabinoids; Cannabidiol GPR55; CB1 receptor
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