Up-regulation of immunomodulatory effects of mouse bone-marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells by tetrahydrocannabinol pre-treatment involving cannabinoid receptor CB2.
Oncotarget. 2016 Jan 27. Epub 2016 Jan 27. PMID: 26824325
Chronic pain is commonly and closely correlated with inflammation. Both cannabinoid signaling and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been demonstrated to reduce inflammatory pain. Although cannabinoid signaling is essential for mesenchymal stem cell survival and differentiation, little is known about its role in modulatory effect of MSCs on inflammation and pain sensitivity. Here we showed that mouse bone-marrow derived MSCs (BM-MSCs) expressed both cannabinoid receptor type 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2). CB2 expression level in BM-MSCs increased with their maturation. In addition, we found that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) activated CB2 receptor and ERK signaling, consequently enhancing the modulation of MSCs on inflammation-associated cytokine release from lipopolysaccharides-stimulated microglia. Consistent with in vitro data, THC pretreatment enhanced the immunomodulatory effects of BM-MSC on thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia in chronic constriction injury model, by decreasing the release of pro-inflammation cytokines. Our study revealed the crucial role of THC in promoting the immunomodulatory effects of MSCs and proposed a new strategy to alleviate pain based on stem cells therapy.