Oleamide Induces Cell Death in Glioblastoma RG2 Cells by a Cannabinoid Receptor–Independent Mechanism

Ana Laura Torres-Román, Victor Manuel García-Hernández, Edgar Rangel-López, Erika Ruiz-García, Abelardo Meneses-García, Abel Santamaría, Michael Aschner, Oscar Prospero-García, Alette Ortega-Gómez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The endocannabinoid system has been associated with antiproliferative effects in several types of tumors through cannabinoid receptor–mediated cell death mechanisms. Oleamide (ODA) is a CB1/CB2 agonist associated with cell growth and migration by adhesion and/or ionic signals associated with Gap junctions. Antiproliferative mechanisms related to ODA remain unknown. In this work, we evaluated the effects of ODA on cell viability and morphological changes in a rat RG2 glioblastoma cell line and compared these effects with primary astrocyte cultures from 8-day postnatal rats. RG2 and primary astrocyte cultures were treated with ODA at increasing concentrations (25, 50, 100, and 200 μM) for different periods of time (12, 24, and 48 h). Changes in RG2 cell viability and morphology induced by ODA were assessed by viability/mitochondrial activity test and phase contrast microscopy, respectively. The ratios of necrotic and apoptotic cell death, and cell cycle alterations, were evaluated by flow cytometry. The roles of CB1 and CB2 receptors on ODA-induced changes were explored with specific receptor antagonists. ODA (100 μM) induced somatic damage, detachment of somatic bodies, cytoplasmic polarization, and somatic shrinkage in RG2 cells at 24 and 48 h. In contrast, primary astrocytes treated at the same ODA concentrations exhibited cell aggregation but not cell damage. ODA (100 μM) increased apoptotic cell death and cell arrest in the G1 phase at 24 h in the RG2 line. The effects induced by ODA on cell viability of RG2 cells were independent of CB1 and CB2 receptors or changes in intracellular calcium transient. Results of this novel study suggest that ODA exerts specific antiproliferative effects on RG2 glioblastoma cells through unconventional apoptotic mechanisms not involving canonical signals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)941-956
Number of pages16
JournalNeurotoxicity Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020


  • Antiproliferative effects
  • Apoptosis
  • Glioblastoma
  • Oleamide
  • Primary astrocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Toxicology


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