Biological effects of THC and a lipophilic cannabis extract on normal and insulin resistant 3T3-L1 adipocytes.Phytomedicine. 2009 Oct; 16(10):942-9.P
Type 2 diabetes, a chronic disease, affects about 150 million people world wide. It is characterized by insulin resistance of peripheral tissues such as liver, skeletal muscle, and fat. Insulin resistance is associated with elevated levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), which in turn inhibits insulin receptor tyrosine kinase autophosphorylation. It has been reported that cannabis is used in the treatment of diabetes. A few reports indicate that smoking cannabis can lower blood glucose in diabetics. Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the primary psychoactive component of cannabis. This study aimed to determine the effect of a lipophilic cannabis extract on adipogenesis, using 3T3-L1 cells, and to measure its effect on insulin sensitivity in insulin resistant adipocytes. Cells were cultured in Dulbecco's modified eagle medium (DMEM) with 10% fetal bovine serum (FBS) and differentiated over a 3 day period for all studies. In the adipogenesis studies, differentiated cells were exposed to the extract in the presence and absence of insulin. Lipid content and glucose uptake was subsequently measured. Insulin-induced glucose uptake increased, while the rate of adipogenesis decreased with increasing THC concentration. Insulin-resistance was induced using TNF-alpha, exposed to the extract and insulin-induced glucose uptake measured. Insulin-induced glucose was increased in these cells after exposure to the extract. Semiquantitative real time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was performed after ribonucleic acid (RNA) extraction to evaluate the effects of the extract on glucose transporter isotype 4 (GLUT-4), insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS-1) and IRS-2 gene expression.