Research Article

Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS

, Volume 63, Issue 17, pp 2057-2066

The non-psychoactive cannabidiol triggers caspase activation and oxidative stress in human glioma cells

  • P. MassiAffiliated withDepartment of Pharmacology, Chemotherapy and Medical Toxicology, University of Milan
  • , A. VaccaniAffiliated withDepartment of Structural and Functional Biology, Pharmacology Section, Center of Neuroscience, University of Insubria
  • , S. BianchessiAffiliated withDepartment of Structural and Functional Biology, Pharmacology Section, Center of Neuroscience, University of Insubria
  • , B. CostaAffiliated withDepartment of Biotechnology and Bioscience, University of Milano-Bicocca
  • , P. MacchiAffiliated withCenter for Brain Research, Department of Neuronal Biology, Medical University of Vienna
  • , D. ParolaroAffiliated withDepartment of Structural and Functional Biology, Pharmacology Section, Center of Neuroscience, University of Insubria Email author 

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

Abstract.

Recently, we have shown that the non-psychoactive cannabinoid compound cannabidiol (CBD) induces apoptosis of glioma cells in vitro and tumor regression in vivo. The present study investigated a possible involvement of caspase activation and reactive oxygen species (ROS) induction in the apoptotic effect of CBD. CBD produced a gradual, time-dependent activation of caspase-3, which preceded the appearance of apoptotic death. In addiction, release of cytochrome c and caspase-9 and caspase-8 activation were detected. The exposure to CBD caused in glioma cells an early production of ROS, depletion of intracellular glutathione and increase activity of glutathione reductase and glutathione peroxidase enzymes. Under the same experimental condition, CBD did not impair primary glia. Thus, we found a different sensitivity to the anti-proliferative effect of CBD in human glioma cells and non-transformed cells that appears closely related to a selective ability of CBD in inducing ROS production and caspase activation in tumor cells.

Keywords.

Cannabidiol glioma cells caspases reactive oxygen species oxidative stress primary glial culture