Delayed neurologic sequelae (DNS) are among the most serious complications of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning caused partly by elevated neuroinflammation. WIN 55,212-2, a non-selective agonist of cannabinoid receptors, has been demonstrated to have anti-inflammatory properties in various brain disorders. The anti-inflammatory action of WIN 55,212-2 is potentially associated with driving microglial M2 polarization. ST2 signaling is important in regulating inflammatory responses and microglial polarization. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the neuroprotective effect of WIN 55,212-2 on DNS after CO poisoning and elucidate its relationship with ST2-mediated microglial M2 polarization. The behavioral tests showed that treatment with WIN 55,212-2 significantly ameliorates the cognitive impairment induced by CO poisoning. This behavioral improvement was accompanied by reduced neuron loss, decreased production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, and a limited number of microglia in the hippocampus. Moreover, WIN 55,212-2 elevated the protein expression of IL-33 (the ligand of ST2) and ST2, increased the ratio of CD206-positive (M2 phenotype) and ST2-positive microglia, and augmented production of M2 microglia-associated cytokines in the hippocampus of CO-exposed rats. Furthermore, we observed that the WIN 55,212-2-mediated increases in ST2 protein expression, CD206-positive and ST2-positive microglia, and microglia-associated cytokines were blocked by the cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2R) antagonist AM630 but not by the cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1R) antagonist AM251. In contrast, the WIN 55,212-2-induced upregulation of the IL-33 protein expression was inhibited by AM251 but not by AM630. Altogether, these findings reveal cannabinoid receptors as promising therapeutic agents for CO poisoning and identify ST2 signaling-related microglial M2 polarization as a new mechanism of cannabinoid-induced neuroprotection.
Du, J. J., Liu, Z. Q., Yan, Y., Xiong, J., Jia, X. T., Di, Z. L., & Ren, J. J. (2020). The Cannabinoid WIN 55,212-2 Reduces Delayed Neurologic Sequelae After Carbon Monoxide Poisoning by Promoting Microglial M2 Polarization Through ST2 Signaling. Journal of Molecular Neuroscience, 70(3), 422–432. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12031-019-01429-2