Díaz-Alonso J, Paraíso-Luna J, Navarrete C, Del Río C, Cantarero I, Palomares B, Aguareles J, Fernández-Ruiz J, Bellido ML, Pollastro F, Appendino G, Calzado MA, Galve-Roperh I, Muñoz E
Sci Rep. 2016. doi: 10.1038/srep29789
Cannabinoids have shown to exert neuroprotective actions in animal models by acting at different targets including canonical cannabinoid receptors and PPARγ. We previously showed that VCE-003, a cannabigerol (CBG) quinone derivative, is a novel neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory cannabinoid acting through PPARγ. We have now generated a non-thiophilic VCE-003 derivative named VCE-003.2 that preserves the ability to activate PPARγ and analyzed its neuroprotective activity. This compound exerted a prosurvival action in progenitor cells during neuronal differentiation, which was prevented by a PPARγ antagonist, without affecting neural progenitor cell proliferation. In addition, VCE-003.2 attenuated quinolinic acid (QA)-induced cell death and caspase-3 activation and also reduced mutant huntingtin aggregates in striatal cells. The neuroprotective profile of VCE-003.2 was analyzed using in vivo models of striatal neurodegeneration induced by QA and 3-nitropropionic acid (3NP) administration. VCE-003.2 prevented medium spiny DARPP32(+) neuronal loss in these Huntington's-like disease mice models improving motor deficits, reactive astrogliosis and microglial activation. In the 3NP model VCE-003.2 inhibited the upregulation of proinflammatory markers and improved antioxidant defenses in the brain. These data lead us to consider VCE-003.2 to have high potential for the treatment of Huntington's disease (HD) and other neurodegenerative diseases with neuroinflammatory traits.