Biological characterization of PM226, a chromenoisoxazole, as a selective CB2 receptor agonist with neuroprotective profile.Pharmacol Res. 2016 08; 110:205-215.PR
Cannabinoids have emerged as promising neuroprotective agents due to their capability to activate specific targets, which are involved in the control of neuronal homeostasis and survival. Specifically, those ligands that selectively target and activate the CB2 receptor may be useful for their anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties in various neurological disorders, with the advantage of being devoid of psychotropic effects associated with the activation of CB1 receptors. The aim of this work has been to investigate the neuroprotective properties of 7-(1,1-dimethylheptyl)-4,4-dimethyl-9-methoxychromeno[3,4-d]isoxazole (PM226), a compound derived from a series of chromeno-isoxazoles and -pyrazoles, which seems to have a promising profile related to the CB2 receptor. The compound binds selectively to this receptor with an affinity in the nanomolar range (Ki=12.8±2.4nM). It has negligible affinity for the CB1 receptor (Ki>40000nM) and no activity at the GPR55. PM226 was also evaluated in GTPγS binding assays specific to the CB2 receptor showing agonist activity (EC50=38.67±6.70nM). In silico analysis of PM226 indicated that it has a good pharmacokinetic profile and a predicted ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. Next, PM226 was investigated in an in vitro model to explore its anti-inflammatory/neuroprotective properties. Conditioned media were collected from LPS-stimulated cultures of BV2 microglial cell line in the absence or presence of different doses of PM226, and then media were added to cultured M213-2O neuronal cells to record their influence on cell viability evaluated using MTT assays. As expected, cell viability was significantly reduced by the exposure to these conditioned media, while the addition of PM226 attenuated this reduction in a dose-dependent manner. This effect was reversed by co-incubating with the CB2 antagonist SR144528, thus confirming the involvement of CB2 receptors, whereas the addition of PM226 to neuronal cultures instead cultured BV2 cells was not effective. PM226 has also been studied in an in vivo model of mitochondrial damage generated by intrastriatal application of malonate in rats. MRI analysis showed that PM226 administration decreased the volume of the striatal lesion caused by malonate, effect that was confirmed after the histopathological evaluation (Nissl staining, Iba-1 immunostaining and TUNEL assay) of striatal sections derived from malonate-lesioned rats in the absence or presence of PM226. Again, the beneficial effects of PM226 were dependent on the activation of CB2 receptors as they were reversed by blocking these receptors with AM630. Overall, PM226 has shown to have a promising neuroprotective profile derived from its ability to selectively activate CB2 receptor, so that it could be a useful disease-modifying agent in those neurodegenerative pathologies in which the activation of these receptors may have therapeutic value.