Pharmaceutical Research

, Volume 27, Issue 10, pp 2162–2174 | Cite as

Decrease of Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor-1 May Contribute to the Anti-Invasive Action of Cannabidiol on Human Lung Cancer Cells

  • Robert Ramer
  • Anja Rohde
  • Jutta Merkord
  • Helga Rohde
  • Burkhard HinzEmail author
Research Paper



Using human lung cancer cells, we evaluated the involvement of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) in the anti-invasive action of cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid.


Invasion was quantified by a modified Boyden chamber assay. PAI-1 protein in cell culture media and PAI-1 mRNA were determined by immunoblotting and RT-PCR, respectively.


Cannabidiol caused a profound inhibition of A549 cell invasion, accompanied by a decreased expression and secretion of PAI-1. Cannabidiol's effects on PAI-1 secretion and invasion were suppressed by antagonists to CB1 and CB2 receptors as well as to transient receptor potential vanilloid 1. Recombinant human PAI-1 and PAI-1 siRNA led to a concentration-dependent up- and down-regulation of invasiveness, respectively, suggesting a crucial role of PAI-1 in A549 invasiveness. Evidence for a causal link between cannabidiol's effects on PAI-1 and invasion was provided by experiments showing a reversal of its anti-invasive action by addition of recombinant PAI-1 at non-proinvasive concentrations. Key data were confirmed in two other human lung cancer cell lines (H460, H358). In vivo, a significant downregulation of PAI-1 protein by cannabidiol was demonstrated in A549 xenografts.


Our data provide evidence for a hitherto unknown mechanism underlying the anti-invasive action of cannabidiol on human lung cancer cells.


cannabidiol lung cancer cells matrigel invasion plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 





(6-Iodo-2-methyl-1-[2-(4-morpholinyl)ethyl]-1H-indol-3-yl) (4-methoxyphenyl)methanone


cannabinoid receptor 1


cannabinoid receptor 2


reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction


small-interfering RNA


transient receptor potential vanilloid 1


4-[3-(4-Iodophenyl)-2-(4-nitrophenyl)-2H-5-tetrazolio]-1.6-benzene disulfonate



This study was supported by grants from the Deutsche Krebshilfe e.V. (Bonn, Germany).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Ramer
    • 1
  • Anja Rohde
    • 1
  • Jutta Merkord
    • 1
  • Helga Rohde
    • 1
  • Burkhard Hinz
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Toxicology and PharmacologyUniversity of RostockRostockGermany

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