Cannabis Health Science Studies Index

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Fever & Cannabis studies completed

Fever (also known as pyrexia) is one of the most common medical signs and is characterized by an elevation of body temperature above the normal range of 36.5-37.5 C (98-100 F) due to an increase in the temperature regulatory set-point.

 

1973 - Study ~ The effects of (-)-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol on reserpine-induced hypothermia in rats.

1973 - Study ~ Evaluation valuation of the hypothermic action of tetrahydrocannabinoids in a squiiel monkeys.

1975 - Study ~ Absence of interaction between delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) in aggression, muscle control and body temperature experiments in mice.

1977 - Study ~ Effects of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol on the rates of oxygen consumption of mice.

1978 - Study ~ The effects of cannabinoids on body temperature and brain catecholamine synthesis.

1982- Study ~ Changes in body temperature and oxygen consumption rate of conscious mice produced by intrahypothalamic and intracerebroventricular injections of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol.

2005 - News -  A Cooling Effect From Cannabis?

2005 - News -  Marijuana Might Really Make You Cool

2007 - Study ~ Effects of a Selective Cannabinoid Agonist and Antagonist on Body Temperature in Rats.

2007 - Study - A Novel Role of Cannabinoids: Implication in the Fever Induced by Bacterial LipopolysaccharideA Novel Role of Cannabinoids

2008 - Study ~ Behavioral and temperature effects of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol in human-relevant doses in rats.

2009 - Study ~ Endogenous cannabinoids induce fever through the activation of CB1 receptors.

2010 - Study ~ Pharmacologically induced hypothermia with cannabinoid receptor agonist WIN55, 212-2 after cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

2012 - Study ~ Contribution of Hypothermia and CB(1) Receptor Activation to Protective Effects of TAK-937, a Cannabinoid Receptor Agonist, in Rat Transient MCAO Model.

2012 - Study ~ Cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptor mediates WIN55, 212-2 induced hypothermia and improved survival in a rat post-cardiac arrest model.

2012 - Study ~ Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol acts as a partial agonist/antagonist in mice.

2012 - Study ~ Determination of naphthalen-1-yl-(1-pentylindol-3-yl)methanone (JWH-018) in mouse blood and tissue after inhalation exposure to ‘buzz’ smoke by HPLC/MS/MS

2012 - News ~ Cannabinoids May Help Prevent MDMA induced brain damage

2013 - Study ~ Dissociation of the Pharmacological Effects of THC by mTOR Blockade.

2013 - Study ~ Behavioral Responses to Acute and Sub-chronic Administration of the Synthetic
Cannabinoid JWH-018 in Adult Mice Prenatally Exposed to Corticosterone.

2013 - Study ~ Tolerance and cross-tolerance among high-efficacy synthetic cannabinoids JWH-018 and JWH-073 and low-efficacy phytocannabinoid 9-THC

2013 - Study ~ Cannabinoid (CB)1 receptors are critical for the innate immune response to TLR4
stimulation.

2013 - Study ~ Improved Cardiac and Neurologic Outcomes With Postresuscitation Infusion of
Cannabinoid Receptor Agonist WIN55, 212-2 Depend on Hypothermia in a Rat Model of
Cardiac Arrest*.

2014 - Study ~ Effect of intermittent cold exposure on brown fat activation, obesity, and energy
homeostasis in mice.

A Cooling Effect From Cannabis?

By Tod Mikuriya, MD

It has been observed by my office staff and confirmed (anecdotal) by colleagues that people seeking physician approval to medicate with cannabis usually register body temperatures markedly below 98.6.

Hypothermia in the mouse is one of the “classic tetrad” of symptoms indicating activation of the cannabinoid system. The genesis of hypothermia requires further study. The Indian Hemp Drugs Commission observed that one of the reputed benefits was to help laborers tolerate the heat. Cannabis was described as used to cool the passions —in contrast with alcohol, which heated them.

A slower metabolic rate, over time, might have implications for longevity.

Clinically, cannabis appears to actually lower temperature and a couple of patients have described a sense of cold with transient shivering. The question could be answered readily by comparing temperatures of persons who have THC metabolites in their urine and people who don’t. If there turns out to be a significantly lower temperature in the cannabis-using population, one might posit a slower metabolic rate which, over time, might have implications for longevity. Temperature has a significant effect on metabolic rate. We have to understand the mechanism of hypothermogenesis.

If there is a hypothermia, what influence is there on the HPA (Hypothalamus Pituitary Adrenal networks) and all of the interactions affecting levels of circulating cortisol and epinephrine, etc.? With management of diabetes, cannabis decreases blood sugar by diminishing gluconeogenesis, which plays out in decreased insulin requirement and improved stability.

This hypothermogenic effect appears to be dose-related and could contribute to a neuroprotective effect after trauma. The optimum delivery method will require study. Hopefully, we will see a vaporizer on ambulances for treatment of head injury and seizures, and at the bedside of pre- and post-neurosurgery patients.

In addition to external cooling, cannabis quiets the irritable CNS. A combination of inhaled and oral cannabis would be appropriate for acute CNS trauma from internal or external etiology. I predict this will become accepted and mainstream in the future.

Raphael Mechoulam’s lab published a paper in 2003 showing that hypothermia appears to be an important factor as to why the synthetic THC analog HU-210 was protective in an animal model of stroke. [Leker, R.R., Gai, N., Mechoulam, R. and Ovadia, H. (2003) Drug-induced hypothermia reduces ischemic damage: effects of the cannabinoid HU-210. Stroke 34, 2000-2006]... If a patient presents to an ER with a stroke, the first thing they will do is put the patient’s head in a cooler and pump them full of antioxidants (vitamin E).

 

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Marijuana Might Really Make You Cool

Fred Gardner, CounterPunch.org, 9th September 2005

Marijuana use may confer health benefits by lowering overall body temperature, according to Tod Mikuriya, MD. It has been observed by his office staff -and confirmed anecdotally by colleagues- that people seeking physician approval to medicate with cannabis usually register body temperatures markedly below 98.6.

Just as lower calorie consumption is associated with greater longevity, lower temperature could confer an advantage by slowing down metabolism! (Sometimes "great ideas" are simple and obvious. For example, all history is the story of class struggle, and, in addition to the thoughts we're aware of, we have unconscious thoughts that can be glimpsed in dreams.) Mikuriya writes in the new O'Shaughnessy's:

Hypothermia in the mouse is one of the "classic tetrad" of symptoms indicating activation of the cannabinoid system. The genesis of hypothermia requires further study. The Indian Hemp Drugs Commission observed that one of the reputed benefits was to help laborers tolerate the heat. Cannabis was described as used to cool the passions -in contrast with alcohol, which heated them.

Clinically, cannabis appears to actually lower temperature and a couple of patients have described a sense of cold with transient shivering. The question could be answered readily by comparing temperatures of persons who have THC metabolites in their urine and people who don't. If there turns out to be a significantly lower temperature in the cannabis-using population, one might posit a slower metabolic rate which, over time, might have implications for longevity. Temperature has a significant effect on metabolic rate. We have to understand the mechanism of hypothermogenesis.

If there is a hypothermia, what influence is there on the HPA (Hypothalamus Pituitary Adrenal networks) and all of the interactions affecting levels of circulating cortisol and epinephrine, etc.? With management of diabetes, cannabis decreases blood sugar by diminishing gluconeogenesis, which plays out in decreased insulin requirement and improved stability.

This hypothermogenic effect appears to be dose-related and could contribute to a neuroprotective effect after trauma. The optimum delivery method will require study. Hopefully, we will see a vaporizer on ambulances for treatment of head injury and seizures, and at the bedside of pre- and post-neurosurgery patients.

In addition to external cooling, cannabis quiets the irritable CNS. A combination of inhaled and oral cannabis would be appropriate for acute CNS trauma from internal or external etiology. I predict this will become accepted and mainstream in the future.

Raphael Mechoulam's lab published a paper in 2003 showing that hypothermia appears to be an important factor as to why the synthetic THC analog HU-210 was protective in an animal model of stroke. [Leker, R.R., Gai, N., Mechoulam, R. and Ovadia, H. (2003) Drug-induced hypothermia reduces ischemic damage: effects of the cannabinoid HU-210. Stroke 34, 2000-2006]... If a patient presents to an ER with a stroke, the first thing they will do is put the patient's head in a cooler and pump them full of antioxidants (vitamin E).



There's many a pothead thinks their drug of choice makes them cooler than the general population. Wait till they find out how much cooler! O'Shaughnessy's is the journal of sorts that I produce for California's small but growing group of pro-cannabis doctors. It is not available by subscription, but a contribution of any amount to the CCRMG (California Cannabis Research Medical Group) will get you on the mailing list for Fall '05 and future issues. The CCRMG is a 501(c)3 non-profit; contributions are tax deductible. It was founded in 1999 by Mikuriya, whose pioneering clinical research has been rewarded by the Medical Board of California with a $75,000 fine (to pay for the cost of his own prosecution; the liberal equivalent of being made to dig your own grave). The CCRMG is not supported by a generous grant from MPP, Green Aid, DPA and other reform bureaucracies. It is BY FAR the best way to support the medical marijuana movement (as opposed to the medical marijuana industry, which does not really need external support). Please send what you can to CCRMG, po box 9143, Berkeley CA 94709 But wait, there's more! If you order now, you'll also receive a never-before published transcript of the 1937 Congressional Hearing that led to the Prohibition of Marijuana, with commentary by your correspondent.

 

 

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A Novel Role of Cannabinoids

  1. Khalid Benamar,
  2. Menachem Yondorf,
  3. Joseph J. Meissler,
  4. Ellen B. Geller,
  5. Ronald J. Tallarida,
  6. Toby K. Eisenstein and
  7. Martin W. Adler

+ Author Affiliations

  1. Center for Substance Abuse Research (K.B., M.Y., E.B.G., M.W.A.) and Departments of Microbiology and Immunology (J.J.M., T.K.E.) and Pharmacology (R.J.T.), Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  1. Address correspondence to:
    Dr. Khalid Benamar, Center of Substance Abuse Research, Temple University School of Medicine, 3400 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19140. E-mail: [email protected]

Abstract

There is continuing interest in elucidating the actions of drugs of abuse on the immune system and on infection.

The present study investigated the effects of the cannabinoid (CB) receptor agonist aminoalkylindole, (+)-WIN 55,212-2 [(4,5-dihydro-2-methyl-4(4-morpholinylmethyl)-1-(1-naphthalenyl-carbonyl)-6H-pyrrolo[3,2,1ij]quinolin-6-one], on fever produced after injection of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a component of the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria, the best known and most frequently used experimental model. Intraperitoneal injection of LPS (50 μg/kg) induced a biphasic fever, with the first peak at 180 min and the second at 300 min postinjection.

Pretreatment with a nonhypothermic dose of the cannabinoid receptor agonist WIN 55,212-2 (0.5–1.5 mg/kg i.p.) antagonized the LPS-induced fever.

However, pretreatment with the inactive enantiomer WIN 55,212-3 [1.5 mg/kg i.p.; S-(-)-[2,3-dihydro-5-methyl-3-[(morpholinyl)methyl]pyrrolo[1,2,3-de]-1,4-benzoxazinyl]-(1-naphthanlenyl)methanone mesylate] did not.

The inhibitory effect of WIN 55,212-2 on LPS-induced fever was reversed by SR141716 [N-(piperdin-1-yl)-5-(4-chloropheny)-1-(2,4-dichloropheny)-4-methyl-1H-pyrazole-3-carboxamide hydrochloride], a selective CB1 receptor antagonist, but not by SR144528 (N-[(1S)-endo-1,3,3-trimethylbicyclo[2.2.1]heptan-2-yl]5-(4-choro-3-methylphenyl)-1-(4-methylbenzyl)pyrazole-3-carboxamide), a selective antagonist at the CB2 receptor.

The present results show that cannabinoids interact with systemic bacterial LPS injection and indicate a role of the CB1 receptor subtype in the pathogenesis of LPS fever.

Fever is part of the acute-phase reaction to infection, characterized by a raised thermoregulatory set point, which leads to an elevation in body temperature (Tb). The systemic administration of LPS, a powerful activator of the innate immune system and the most commonly used experimental model for systemic infection, induces a variety of sickness-associated responses such as anorexia, increased slow-wave sleep (Hori et al., 1991; Elmquist et al., 1997), change in nociceptive threshold, and fever (Benamar et al., 2000, 2005; Abe et al., 2001).

The fever due to LPS and other exogenous pyrogens is believed to be caused by the synthesis and release from monocytes and macrophages of a number of well characterized endogenous pyrogenic factors, including interleukin (IL)-1, IL-6, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, and macrophage inflammatory protein-1 (Myers et al., 1994; Blatteis, 2006). In addition, it has been shown that the opioid system is involved in LPS-induced fever (Benamar et al., 2000, 2005) and that pretreatment with capsaicin, an agonist at the vanilloid receptor, blocks the first phase of LPS-induced fever (Dogen et al., 2004).

Cannabis and its derivative compounds, collectively known as cannabinoids, produce an array of pharmacological symptoms in animals and humans (Ovadia et al., 1995; Chaperon and Thiebot, 1999). Two subtypes of receptors, CB1 and CB2, mediate cannabinoid-induced effects (Howlett, 1995). The development of synthetic cannabinoid agonists has provided remarkable advances in cannabis research. One such ligand is the aminoalkylindole, (+)-WIN 55,212-2 [(4,5-dihydro-2-methyl-4(4-morpholinylmethyl)-1-(1-naphthalenyl-carbonyl)-6H-pyrrolo[3,2,1ij]quinolin-6-one], which displays high selectivity for cannabinoid receptors.

Previous studies have demonstrated that WIN 55,212-2 is highly potent and efficacious in vivo and in vitro. WIN 55,212-2 prevents i.v. cocaine self-administration, increases tail-flick reflexes, exerts antihyperalgesic effects, and induces hypothermia in rats, indicating that WIN 55,212-2 is pharmacologically active in vivo (Fox et al., 2001). WIN 55,212-2 undergoes less nonspecific binding than classical cannabinoids and interacts negligibly with other neurotransmitter systems and ion channels (Jansen et al., 1992).

In contrast, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) has been reported to produce hypothermia by interacting with other neurotransmitters, including serotonin (Davies and Graham, 1980). One of the major advances in CB research has been the development of a potent and selective antagonist of the CB1 receptor, SR141716A.

This compound was found to block the hypokinetic, hypothermic, cataleptic, and antinociceptive effects of Δ9-THC and WIN 55,212-2 in mice and rats (Rinaldi-Carmona et al., 1994; Reche et al., 1996). In addition, studies with SR141716 have provided evidence for the presence of CB1 receptors in peripheral tissues as well as in the central nervous system (Varga et al., 1995; Lake et al., 1997).

However, the CB2 receptor subtype has been defined as the peripheral CB receptor, primarily because CB2 mRNA expression has been detected mainly in cells of the immune system (Galieque et al., 1995). The CB2 is expressed inducibly and is present at high levels compared with the CB1 when microglia are in responsive and primed states of activation (Cabral and Marciano-Cabral, 2005). Like the CB1 receptor subtype, the CB2 receptor is a member of the G protein-coupled receptor family and on stimulation causes inhibition of adenylyl cyclase. A potent, selective, and orally active antagonist of the CB2 receptor, SR144528 was recently identified and shown to have a 700-fold higher affinity for the CB2 receptor than for the CB1 receptor (Rinaldi-Carmona et al., 1998).

Because the cannabinoids and LPS both affect the immune and thermoregulatory systems, an investigation was undertaken to determine whether the cannabinoids affect the development of fever after systemic injection by LPS. In this present study, the in vivo effects of two cannabinoid agonists, Δ9-THC (main psychoactive constituent of marijuana) and WIN 55,212-2 (synthetic cannabinoid agonist), were examined for effects on LPS-induced fever. Highly selective CB receptor antagonists SR141716 and SR144528 were used in an attempt to identify the receptor subtype(s) through which WIN 55,212-2 mediates its effects on LPS-induced fever.

Materials and Methods

Animals. All animal use procedures were conducted in strict accordance with the National Institute of Health Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals and were approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. Male Sprague-Dawley rats (Zivic-Miller) weighing 250 to 300 g were used in this study. They were housed three per cage for at least 1 week before surgery and were fed laboratory chow and water ad libitum. Ambient temperature was 21 ± 0.3°C, and a 12-h light/dark cycle was used.

Surgery Procedures. Rats were anesthetized with an i.p. injection of a mixture of ketamine hydrochloride (80 mg/kg) and acepromazine maleate (0.2 mg/kg). An incision 2 cm in length was made along the linea alba, and the underlying tissue was dissected and retracted. A transmitter (Mini-Mitter, Sunriver, OR) was then inserted in the i.p. space. After the transmitter was passed through the incision, the abdominal musculature and dermis were sutured independently (Benamar et al., 2002). The animals were returned to individual cages in the environmental room.

Body Temperature Measurement. One week after surgery, the rats were tested in an environmental room (Hotpack), maintained at 21 ± 0.3°C ambient temperature and 52 ± 2% relative humidity. After 1 h of adaptation, two readings at 15-min intervals were averaged to determine the baseline. Either saline or drug was then injected i.p.

Tb was measured by a biotelemetry system (Mini-Mitter) using calibrated transmitters implanted i.p. Signals from the transmitter were delivered through a computer-linked receiver. This method minimizes stress to animals during the Tb reading. Thus, the Tb could be monitored continuously and recorded without restraint or any disturbance to the animal. All experiments were started between 9:00 and 10:00 AM to minimize the effect of circadian variation in Tb.

Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay. The concentration of IL-6 in the plasma was determined by using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kit from R&D Systems (Minneapolis, MN). The assay was performed according to the manufacturer's instructions. At selected time points after i.p. injection of vehicle/LPS or WIN 55,212-2/LPS, rats were killed for collection of blood. Blood samples were immediately centrifuged for measurement of IL-6 in the plasma.

Drugs. The cannabinoid agonist, WIN 55,212-2, and its inactive enantiomer, WIN 55,212-3, were obtained from Sigma-Aldrich (St. Louis, MO). Δ9-THC, SR1411716A, and SR144528 were supplied by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (Rockville, MD). These drugs were dissolved in Cremophor, dimethyl sulfoxide, and saline (1:1:18). Lipopolysaccharide was the phenol-extracted preparation of Escherichia coli (0111:B4) and was obtained from Sigma-Aldrich and dissolved in pyrogen-free saline.

Statistical Analysis. All results were expressed as mean ± S.E.M. Statistical analysis of differences between groups was determined by analysis of variance followed by Tukey's test. A value of p less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

Results

The Effect of WIN 55,212-2 on Body Temperature. The i.p. injection of WIN 55,212-2 (0.5–1.5 mg/kg) did not significantly affect the Tb relative to vehicle (Table 1, p > 0.05). However, a higher dose of WIN 55,212-2 (2 mg/kg) produced significant hypothermia compared with control (p < 0.05). Accordingly, we used the nonhypothermic doses of WIN 55,212-2 (0.5–1.5 mg/kg) to allow a clear analysis of the effects of WIN 55,212-2 on LPS-induced fever.

View this table:
TABLE 1

Maximal change (mean ± S.E.M.) in body temperature induced by 0.5 to 2 mg/kg WIN 55,212-2 i.p. ΔTb, variation in body temperature. n, number of rats.

The Effect of WIN 55,212-2 on LPS-Induced Fever. In Fig. 1, LPS injected i.p. (50 μg/kg) induced an increase in Tb that peaked at 180 min (1.25 ± 0.27°C) and again at 5 h (1.52 ± 0.21°C), in agreement with our previous study (Benamar et al., 2000). To determine whether a cannabinoid receptor agonist would interfere with the LPS-induced fever, WIN 55,212-2 (0.5–1.5 mg/kg) was injected 30 min before LPS (Fig. 1).

WIN 55,212-2, at a dose of 0.5 mg/kg, did not affect the LPS-induced fever. The LPS-induced fever was partially attenuated by WIN 55,212-2 at a dose of 1 mg/kg (Fig. 1, p < 0.05) and further reduced at a dose of 1.5 mg/kg WIN 55,212-2. Mean Tb before injection was 37.61 ± 0.15°C for the vehicle/LPS group, 37.64 ± 0.19°C for the WIN 55,212-2 (0.5 mg/kg)/LPS group, 37.60 ± 0.17°C for the WIN 55,212-3 (1 mg/kg)/LPS group, 37.87 ± 0.23°C for the WIN 55,212-2 (1.5 mg/kg) group, and 37 ± 14°C for vehicle/saline group.

  Fig. 1.
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Fig. 1.

Effect of i.p. pretreatment with WIN 55,212-2 (0.5–1.5 mg/kg, -30 min) on LPS-induced fever. LPS was injected at time 0. Data are expressed as the mean ± S.E.M. from baseline. N, number of rats. ΔTb, variation in body temperature. *, p < 0.05; **, p < 0.01. Vehicle + LPS versus WIN 55,212-2 + LPS at various concentrations.

Effect of WIN 55,212-3 (Inactive Form) on LPS-Induced Fever. To confirm that WIN55,212-2 functions through the cannabinoid receptor, we tested whether an inactive enantiomer of the aminoalkylindole could affect LPS-induced fever. WIN 55,212-3 (1.5 mg/kg) had no effect on Tb compared with vehicle (Fig. 2, p > 0.05). Moreover, pretreatment with this inactive form did not alter the LPS-induced fever (Fig. 2, p > 0.05). Mean Tb before injection was 37.77 ± 0.11°C for the vehicle/LPS group, 37.67 ± 0.14°C for the WIN 55,212-3/LPS group, 37.65 ± 0.09°C for the WIN 55,212-3/vehicle and group, and 37.62 ± 0.24°C for the vehicle/saline group.

  Fig. 2.
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Fig. 2.

Effect of i.p. pretreatment with WIN 55,212-3 (1.5 mg/kg, - 30 min) on LPS-induced fever. LPS was injected at time 0. Data are expressed as the mean ± S.E.M. from baseline. N, number of rats. ΔTb, variation in body temperature.

Antagonism of WIN 55,212-2 Effect on LPS-Induced Fever by SR141716. To determine the contribution of CB1 receptors in the WIN 55,212-2 effect on LPS-induced fever, SR141716 was administered to rats 30 min before the WIN 55,212-2 and 1 h before LPS (50 μg/kg). SR141716 2.5 (mg/kg i.p.) was found to block the antagonistic effect of WIN 55,212-2 (1.5 mg/kg) on LPS-induced fever (Fig. 3, p < 0.05).

Neither the SR141716/vehicle/saline nor vehicle/vehicle/saline group showed an effect on Tb. The mean Tb before injection was 37.44 ± 0.18°C for the vehicle/vehicle/LPS group, 37.59 ± 0.11°C for the SR141716/WIN 55,212-2/LPS group, 37.62 ± 0.06°C for the vehicle/WIN 55,212-2/vehicle, 37.56 ± 0.14°C.

Failure of CB2-Selective Antagonist SR144528 to Reverse the WIN 55,212-2 Effect on LPS-Induced Fever. To determine whether SR14428 antagonizes the effects of WIN 55,212-2 on LPS-induced fever, SR144528 (2.5 mg/kg i.p.) was administered to rats 30 min before treatment with WIN 55,212-2 (1.5 mg/kg i.p.) and 1 h before LPS challenge (Fig. 4). There was no evidence of antagonism by SR144528 of the inhibitory effect of WIN 55,212-2 on LPS-induced fever, even at a high dose of 5 mg/kg (data not shown), nor was there any change in Tb after the administration of SR 144528/vehicle/saline. The mean Tb before injection was 37.76 ± 0.08°C for the vehicle/vehicle/LPS group, 37.71 ± 0.13°C for the SR144528/WIN 55,212-2/LPS group, and 37.63 ± 0.09°C for the SR1445288/vehicle/vehicle.

  Fig. 3.
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Fig. 3.

Antagonism of WIN 55,212-2 effect on LPS-induced fever by SR141716. Rats were treated i.p. with WIN 55,212-2 (1.5 mg/kg) 30 min before LPS. SR141716 was administered to rats at a dose of 2.5 mg/kg 1 h before LPS (at 0 min). Data are expressed as the mean ± S.E.M. from baseline. N, number of rats. ΔTb, variation in body temperature. *, p < 0.05.

  Fig. 4.
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Fig. 4.

Lack of antagonism by SR144528 on the WIN 55,212-2 effect on LPS-induced fever. SR144528 (2.5 mg/kg i.p.) was administered to the rats 30 min before treatment with WIN 55,212-2 (50 mg/kg) and 1 h before the LPS challenge (at 0 min). Data are expressed as the mean ± S.E.M. from baseline. N, number of rats. ΔTb, variation in body temperature.

Effects of SR141716 or SR144528 on LPS-Induced Fever. In separate experiments, we also determined whether CB1 or CB2 receptor antagonists themselves affected the LPS-induced fever. SR141716 or SR144528 was injected 30 min before LPS. SR141716 (2.5 mg/kg) completely abolished the fever produced by LPS (Fig. 5, p < 0.05). In contrast, SR144528 2.5 mg/kg did not alter LPS-evoked fever (Fig. 6, p > 0.05). Neither SR141716 nor SR144528 significantly affected baseline temperatures (Figs. 5, 6, 7), suggesting that the endocannabinoid system does not tonically regulate Tb.

Mean Tb before injection was 37.76 ± 0.08°C for the vehicle/LPS group, 37.74 ± 0.15°C for the SR141176A/LPS group, 37.67 ± 0.23°C for the SR141716/vehicle, 37.69 ± 0.15°C for the vehicle/saline group, 37.63 ± 0.13°C for the SR144528/LPS group, 37.66 ± 0.2°C for the SR144528 (2.5 mg/kg) group, 37.59 ± 0.17°C for the SR144528 (1 mg/kg) group, and 37.71 ± 0.21°C for the SR144528 (5 mg/kg) group. The doses of SR141716 and SR144528 were chosen for these studies based on our previous data (Rawls et al., 2002).

  Fig. 5.
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Fig. 5.

Block of LPS-induced fever by SR141716 (2.5 mg/kg i.p.). LPS was injected at 0 min. SR141716 was injected 30 min before LPS. Data are expressed as the mean ± S.E.M. from baseline. N, number of rats. ΔTb, variation in body temperature. * p < 0.05.

  Fig. 6.
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Fig. 6.

Lack of effect of SR144528 (1, 2.5, and 5 mg/kg i.p.) on LPS-induced fever. LPS was injected at 0 min. SR144528 was injected 30 min before LPS. Data are expressed as the mean ± S.E.M. from baseline. N, number of rats. ΔTb, variation in body temperature.

  Fig. 7.
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Fig. 7.

Lack of effect of SR14428 alone (1, 2.5, and 5 mg/kg) on Tb. Data are expressed as the mean ± S.E.M. from baseline. N, number of rats. ΔTb, variation in body temperature.

WIN 55,212-2 Blocks LPS-Induced Increases in IL-6 Levels in Plasma. To test whether inflammatory cytokine levels were effected by this cannabinoid treatment, we determined the levels of plasma IL-6 following cannabinoid addition. LPS induced a significant increase in plasma IL-6 at levels 2 and 4 h postinjection of LPS (Fig. 8). WIN 55,212-2 given 30 min before LPS significantly attenuated the increase in the levels of IL-6 at the 3- and 5-h time points. Neither WIN 55,212-2 by itself nor vehicle affected significantly the levels of IL-6 (data not shown).

  Fig. 8.
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Fig. 8.

The reduction in plasma levels of IL-6 in rats treated with WIN 55,212-2, 30 min before LPS. Plasma levels were measured 3 and 5 h after LPS challenge. Values shown are the mean ± S.E.M. of six rats per group. Significantly different from the response of rats with vehicle/LPS, *, p < 0.05.

The Effect of Δ9-THC on Body Temperature and on LPS-Induced Fever. To ensure that the ability of cannabinoids to modulate LPS-induced fever was not limited to the aminoalkylindole WIN 55,212-2, we carried out similar experiments using the chemically unique Δ9-THC. The i.p. injection of Δ9-THC at doses of 0.5 or 1 mg/kg did not significantly affect the Tb relative to vehicle (Table 2, p > 0.05). However, a higher dose of Δ9-THC (1.5 mg/kg) produced significant hypothermia compared with control (p < 0.05).

View this table:
TABLE 2

Maximal change (mean ± S.E.M.) in body temperature induced by 0.5 to 1.5 mg/kg Δ9-THC i.p. ΔTb, variation in body temperature. n, number of rats.

The LPS-induced fever showed a trend toward reduction by Δ9-THC at a dose of 0.5 mg/kg (Fig. 9) and significantly reduced at a dose of 1 mg/kg (Fig. 9, p < 0.05). Mean Tb before injection was 37.64 ± 0.12°C for the vehicle/LPS group, 37.71 ± 0.21°C for the Δ9-THC (0.5 mg/kg)/LPS group, and 37.55 ± 0.23°C for the Δ9-THC (1 mg/kg)/LPS group.

Discussion

The major finding in the present study is that nonhypothermic doses of WIN 55,212-2 significantly reduced LPS-induced fever.

This inhibitory effect is not due to a nonspecific interaction with hydrophobic regions of functional proteins or their lipid surroundings in the cell membrane since WIN 55,212-3, an enantiomer of WIN 55,212-2, did not affect the LPS-induced fever, indicating that the effect of WIN 55,212-2 on LPS-induced fever is stereoselective. To further characterize the participation of cannabinoids on the inhibitory effect on LPS-induced fever, we evaluated another agonist at cannabinoid receptors, Δ9-THC. This agonist at doses of 0.5 or 1 mg/kg also attenuated LPS-induced fever.

  Fig. 9.
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Fig. 9.

Effect of i.p. pretreatment with Δ9-THC (0.5 or 1 mg/kg) 30 min before LPS-induced fever. LPS was injected at time 0. Data are expressed as the mean ± S.E.M. from baseline. N, number of rats. ΔTb, variation in body temperature. *, p < 0.05; **, p < 0.01.

It has been demonstrated that circulating levels of IL-6 rise dramatically following LPS injection with a profile that correlates closely with the development of fever (Harre et al., 2002) and that the neutralization of endogenous IL-6 (Cartmell et al., 2000) or absence of IL-6 in knockout mice (Chai et al., 1996) results in an almost total inhibition of the LPS-induced fever, suggesting that IL-6 is an essential circulating mediator of the brain-derived fever response.

In an attempt to investigate the involvement of this inflammatory cytokine in the inhibitory effect of WIN 55,212-2 on LPS-induced fever, we determined the effect of WIN 55,212-2 on plasma levels of IL-6 induced by LPS, examined concurrently at two different time points that coincide with the first (3 h) and second (5 h) peaks of LPS-induced fever.

In parallel with the inhibitory effect of WIN 55,212-2 on LPS-induced fever, the plasma level of IL-6 was also attenuated at both time points. Several studies have reported the immunosuppressive effect of cannabinoids on peripheral circulating cytokines, including TNF-α, IL-10, IL-12, IL-6, and IL-1β (Gallily et al., 1997; Smith et al., 2000; Roche et al., 2006). HU210 fully attenuated the LPS-induced increase in the levels of IL-1β, TNF-α, and IL-6, and changes in cytokine levels were accompanied by reduced circulating lymphocyte numbers and increased plasma corticosterone levels in response to acute administration of LPS and/or cannabinoid drugs (Roche et al., 2006). Δ9-THC and WIN 55,212-2 were investigated for their effects on LPS-induced bronchopulmonary inflammation in mice (Berdyshev et al., 1998). Both drugs were found to cause a dose-related decrease in TNF-α in bronchoalveolar lavage fluids.

The effect of WIN 55,212-2 on LPS-induced serum cytokine responses has been also investigated in mice. The levels of TNF-α, IL-12, IL-1, and IL-6 were reduced in mice pretreated with WIN 55,212-2 (Smith et al., 2000). The mechanism by which WIN 55,212-2 produces its effect on LPS-induced fever is unknown.

The fact that cytokines, such as IL-6, act as endogenous pyrogens and play an important role in the mechanisms responsible for the development of the febrile response during infection and inflammation (Kluger et al., 1995) and that cannabinoids have immunosuppressive effects may provide an explanation for our results. WIN 55,212-2, by diminishing the IL-6 production by LPS, may cause a reduction in LPS-induced fever. Of course, this explanation does not dismiss the possible implication of other mediators of fever, other cytokines (e.g., interleukin-1β), and/or chemokines.

The WIN 55,212-2 effects on LPS-induced fever could occur through the CB1 and/or CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are located primarily in the central nervous system and are thought to mediate the central effects of cannabinoids (Howlett, 1995). CB1 receptor immunoreactivity has been detected in the hypothalamus (Tsou et al., 1998), including the lateral hypothalamic area and the preoptic anterior hypothalamus, the primary area implicated in body temperature regulation (Moldrich and Wenger, 2000).

In contrast, CB2 receptors are expressed mainly in the peripheral immune cells (Dragic et al., 1996). CB2 receptor mRNA has been found in spleen, tonsils, and thymus, which are the major tissues of immune cell production and regulation (Cabral and Pettit, 1998).

However, recent evidence shows the expression of CB2 receptor mRNA and protein localization on brainstem neurons and microglia (Cabral and Marciano-Cabral, 2005; Van Sickle et al., 2005). The present study shows that SR141716 prevented the WIN 55,212-2 effects on LPS-induced fever, indicating that a CB1 receptor mechanism mediated the response.

The blockade by SR141716 of WIN 55,212-2 effects in the present study is consistent with previous reports. For example, SR141716 blocked cannabinoid agonist-induced hypothermia in rats (Rawls et al., 2002). Several lines of evidence implicate the involvement of cannabinoids, acting via cannabinoid CB1 receptors, in the action of LPS in the rat (Varga et al., 1998). The systemic administration of a selective CB1 receptor antagonist SR141716 protects rats against hypotension induced by bacterial LPS (Varga et al., 1998), and in the initial phase of septic shock induced by LPS, the activation of CB1 receptors by endogenously formed cannabinoids contributes to the inhibition of the neurogenic vasopressor response (Godlewski et al., 2004).

CB1 receptors contribute to the immunosuppressive effects of HU210, both centrally and peripherally, since SR141716 attenuated, albeit partially, the decrease in LPS-induced cytokine release induced by this cannabinoid receptor agonist (Roche et al., 2006). Because cytokines are released in response to LPS, and the CB2 receptor has a modulatory role in the immune system, including the cytokine network (Klein et al., 1998), it was tempting to assume that CB2 receptors might contribute to the LPS-induced fever as well.

In contrast to SR141716, the present study shows that SR144528 did not affect the inhibitory effects of WIN 55,212-2 on LPS-induced fever, indicating that the thermoregulatory interaction between WIN 55,212-2 and LPS is insensitive to CB2 receptor activation.

An unexpected finding in the present study was the ability of SR141716 itself to attenuate LPS-induced fever. Its effect on LPS-induced fever was similar to that of WIN 55,212-2 and LPS. Interestingly, the LPS-induced cytokines can be modulated by CB agonists through activation of the CB1 receptors in mice (Smith et al., 2000).

The decreases in serum TNF-α and IL-12 that occurred in cannabinoid-agonist-treated mice could be blocked by SR141716 but not by SR144528 (Smith et al., 2000). SR141716 itself modulated LPS-induced cytokine responses, and its effects on inflammatory cytokine responses and anti-inflammatory IL-10 were qualitatively similar to those of the CB agonist WIN 55,212-2, suggesting that cytokine modulation by SR141716 seems to be a result of partial agonism (Smith et al., 2000).

Several lines of evidence suggest that SR141716, initially characterized as the first potent and selective cannabinoid CB1 receptor antagonist (Rinaldi-Carmona et al., 1994), also has inverse agonist properties. The evidence mainly comes from biochemical studies regarding adenylate cyclase and mitogen-activated protein kinase activity in heterologous expression systems (Bouaboula et al., 1997). The administration of SR141716 alone was sufficient to suppress central and peripheral cytokine responses, in a manner qualitatively and quantitatively similar to the immunosuppressive effects of HU210 (Roche et al., 2006).

It is possible that such an effect may occur with SR141716 and LPS-induced fever. In these studies, we also determined whether CB2 receptors are implicated directly in LPS-induced fever. In contrast to SR141716, SR144528 did not influence the development of fever evoked by LPS. In agreement with our previous studies (Rawls et al., 2002), neither SR141716 nor SR144528 by itself altered Tb, suggesting that the endocannabinoid system does not tonically modulate Tb. The present report presents a novel role for cannabinoids by demonstrating a thermoregulatory interaction between cannabinoids and LPS and showing that cannabinoid ligands can prevent the development of fever induced by systemic LPS administration.

Footnotes

  • This work was supported by NIDA Grants DA 06650 and DA 13429.

  • Article, publication date, and citation information can be found at http://jpet.aspetjournals.org.

  • doi:10.1124/jpet.106.113159.

  • ABBREVIATIONS: Tb, body temperature; LPS, lipopolysaccharide; IL, interleukin; (+)-WIN 55,212-2, (4,5-dihydro-2-methyl-4(4-morpholinyl-methyl)-1-(1-naphthalenyl-carbonyl)-6H-pyrrolo[3,2,1ij]quinolin-6-one; Δ9-THC, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol; SR141716, N-(piperdin-1-yl)-5-(4-chloropheny)-1-(2,4-dichloropheny)-4-methyl-1H-pyrazole-3-carboxamide hydrochloride; SR144528, N-[(1S)-endo-1,3,3-trimethylbicyclo[2.2.1]-heptan-2-yl]5-(4-choro-3-methylphenyl)-1-(4-methylbenzyl)pyrazole-3-carboxamide; WIN 55,212-3, S-(-)-[2,3-dihydro-5-methyl-3-[(morpholinyl)-methyl]pyrrolo[1,2,3-de]-1,4-benzoxazinyl]-(1-naphthanlenyl)methanone mesylate; CB, cannabinoid.

    • Received August 30, 2006.
    • Accepted December 19, 2006.

References

 
 
 
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