Development of an in vitro peptide-stimulated T cell assay to evaluate immune effects by cannabinoid compounds

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Int Immunopharmacol. 2024 Feb 8;129:111654. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2024.111654. Online ahead of print.


Previous studies demonstrated that cannabinoids exhibit immunosuppressive effects in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), the animal model of multiple sclerosis (MS). To ask questions about treatment timing and investigate mechanisms for immune suppression by the plant-derived cannabinoids, cannabidiol (CBD) and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), an in vitro peptide stimulation of naive splenocytes (SPLC) was developed to mimic T cell activation in EAE. The peptide was derived from the myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) protein, which is one component of the myelin sheath. MOG peptide is typically used with an immune adjuvant to trigger MOG-reactive T cells that attack MOG-containing tissues, causing demyelination and clinical disease in EAE. To develop the in vitro model, naïve SPLC were stimulated with MOG peptide on day 0 and restimulated on day 4. Cytokine analyses revealed that CBD and THC suppressed MOG peptide-stimulated cytokine production. Flow cytometric analysis showed that intracellular cytokines could be detected in CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. To determine if intracellular calcium was altered in the cultures, cells were stimulated for 4 days to assess the state of the cells at the time of MOG peptide restimulation. Both cannabinoid-treated cultures had a smaller population of the calcium-positive population as compared to vehicle-treated cells. These results demonstrate the establishment of an in vitro model that can be used to mimic MOG-reactive T cell stimulation in vivo.

PMID:38335658 | DOI:10.1016/j.intimp.2024.111654

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