Neuroprotective Effects of the Nonpsychoactive Cannabinoid Cannabidiol in Hypoxic-Ischemic Newborn Piglets

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Abstract

ABSTRACT:

To test the neuroprotective effects of the nonpsychoactive cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD), piglets received i.v. CBD or vehicle after hypoxia-ischemia (HI: temporary occlusion of both carotid arteries plus hypoxia). Nonhypoxic-ischemic sham-operated piglets remained as controls. Brain damage was studied by near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) and amplitude-integrated electroencephalography (aEEG) and by histologic assessment (Nissl and FluoroJadeB staining). In HI+vehicle, HI led to severe cerebral hemodynamic and metabolic impairment, as reflected in NIRS by an increase in total Hb index (THI) and a decrease in the fractional tissue oxygenation extraction (FTOE); in HI+CBD the increase of THI was blunted and FTOE remained similar to SHAM. HI profoundly decreased EEG amplitude, which was not recovered in HI+vehicle, indicating cerebral hypofunction; seizures were observed in all HI+vehicle. In HI+CBD, however, EEG amplitude recovered to 46.4 ± 7.8% baseline and seizures appeared only in 4/8 piglets (both p < 0.05). The number of viable neurons decreased and that of degenerating neurons increased in HI+vehicle; CBD reduced both effects by more than 50%. CBD administration was free from side effects; moreover, CBD administration was associated with cardiac, hemodynamic, and ventilatory beneficial effects. In conclusion, administration of CBD after HI reduced short-term brain damage and was associated with extracerebral benefits.

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