The potential treatment of neurodegenerative disorders requires the development of novel pharmacological strategies at the experimental level, such as the endocannabinoid-based therapies. The effects of oleamide (OEA), a fatty acid primary amide with activity on cannabinoid receptors, was tested against mitochondrial toxicity induced by the electron transport chain complex II inhibitor, 3-nitropropionic acid (3-NP), in rat cortical slices. OEA prevented the 3-NP-induced loss of mitochondrial function/cell viability at a concentration range of 5 nM–25 µM, and this protective effect was observed only when the amide was administered as pretreatment, but not as post-treatment. The preservation of mitochondrial function/cell viability induced by OEA in the toxic model induced by 3-NP was lost when the slices were pre-incubated with the cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1R) selective inhibitor, AM281, or the cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2R) selective inhibitor, JTE-907. The 3-NP-induced inhibition of succinate dehydrogenase (mitochondrial Complex II) activity was recovered by 25 nM OEA. The amide also prevented the increased lipid peroxidation and the changes in reduced/oxidized glutathione (GSH/GSSG) ratio induced by 3-NP. The cell damage induced by 3-NP, assessed as incorporation of cellular propidium iodide, was mitigated by OEA. Our novel findings suggest that the neuroprotective properties displayed by OEA during the early stages of damage to cortical cells involve the converging activation of CB1R and CB2R and the increase in antioxidant activity, which combined may emerge from the preservation of the functional integrity of mitochondria.
- Cannabinoid receptors
- Endocannabinoid system
- Mitochondrial energy depletion
- Oxidative stress
ASJC Scopus subject areas