Cannabinoids May Protect Against Cancer Cachexia, Finds Study

Cannabinoids may protect against the negative effects of colorectal cancer cachexia, according to a new study published by the peer-reviewed journal Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy.

Cancer cachexia is a multifactorial disorder characterized by weight loss and muscle wasting, and there are currently no FDA-approved medications. For this new study, conducted by researchers from National Taiwan University, “upregulation of six cytokines was observed in serum samples from patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) and in mouse models.”

Researchers found that “pharmacological treatment with Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), a selective CB2 agonist attenuated CRC-associated muscle atrophy.”

In contrast, “knockout of CB2 with a CRISPR/Cas9-based strategy or depletion of CD8+ T cells in CRC mice abolished the Δ9-THC-mediated effects”, validating the previous discovery.

The results, according to researchers, “demonstrates that cannabinoids ameliorate CD8+ T cell infiltration in CRC-associated skeletal muscle atrophy via a CB2-mediated pathway.” They note that “Serum levels of the six-cytokine signature might serve as a potential biomarker to detect the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids in CRC-associated cachexia.”

In other words, cannabinoids may combat the negative impacts associated with cancer cachexia.

The full text of the study can be found by clicking here, and the study’s full abstract can be found below.

Abstract

Cancer cachexia is a multifactorial disorder characterized by weight loss and muscle wasting, and there are currently no FDA-approved medications. In the present study, upregulation of six cytokines was observed in serum samples from patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) and in mouse models. A negative correlation between the levels of the six cytokines and body mass index in CRC patients was seen. Gene Ontology analysis revealed that these cytokines were involved in regulating T cell proliferation. The infiltration of CD8+ T cells was found to be associated with muscle atrophy in mice with CRC. Adoptive transfer of CD8+ T cells isolated from CRC mice resulted in muscle wasting in recipients. The Genotype-Tissue Expression database showed that negative correlations between the expression of cachexia markers and cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) in human skeletal muscle tissues. Pharmacological treatment with Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), a selective CB2 agonist or overexpression of CB2 attenuated CRC-associated muscle atrophy. In contrast, knockout of CB2 with a CRISPR/Cas9-based strategy or depletion of CD8+ T cells in CRC mice abolished the Δ9-THC-mediated effects. This study demonstrates that cannabinoids ameliorate CD8+ T cell infiltration in CRC-associated skeletal muscle atrophy via a CB2-mediated pathway. Serum levels of the six-cytokine signature might serve as a potential biomarker to detect the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids in CRC-associated cachexia.

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