Cannabinoids May Have a Therapeutic Role to Play in Treating Thymoma

October 3, 2016 - thymoma

It has been shown that leukemia and glioma cells are sensitive to cannabidiol (CBD)-induced apoptosis, whereas primary monocytes and glia cells are relatively insensitive. In the current study, the cellular events and sensitivity to CBD-induced apoptosis between murine thymocytes and EL-4 thymoma cells were compared. Cannabidiol markedly induced apoptosis in a time- and concentration-related manner in both cells.

The efficacy of CBD to induce apoptosis was comparable between the 2 types of T cells, whereas CBD induced apoptosis in thymocytes with a slightly greater potency than in EL4 cells. Time-course analyses revealed CBD-mediated apoptosis occurred earlier in EL-4 cells than that in thymocytes. An increased level of cellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) was detected in both cells with the peak response at 2 h post CBD treatment.

Concordantly, CBD triggered a gradual diminishment in the cellular thiols. The presence of N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC), a precursor of glutathione, markedly attenuated the induction of apoptosis, and restored the diminished levels of cellular thiols. The results demonstrated that both thymocytes and EL-4 thymoma cells were susceptible to CBD-induced apoptosis and that ROS played a critical role in the apoptosis induction.

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