Cannabidiol for the Treatment of Neonatal Hypoxic-Ischemic Brain Injury.

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. 2021 Jan 11;11:584533.

doi: 10.3389/fphar.2020.584533. eCollection 2020.


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José Martínez-Orgado et al. Front Pharmacol. .


Each year, more than two million babies die or evolve to permanent invalidating sequelae worldwide because of Hypoxic-Ischemic Brain Injury (HIBI). There is no current treatment for that condition except for therapeutic hypothermia, which benefits only a select group of newborns. Preclinical studies offer solid evidence of the neuroprotective effects of Cannabidiol (CBD) when administered after diffuse or focal HI insults to newborn pigs and rodents. Such effects are observable in the short and long term as demonstrated by functional, neuroimaging, histologic and biochemical studies, and are related to the modulation of excitotoxicity, inflammation and oxidative stress-the major components of HIBI pathophysiology. CBD protects neuronal and glial cells, with a remarkable effect on preserving normal myelinogenesis. From a translational point of view CBD is a valuable tool for HIBI management since it is safe and effective. It is administered by the parenteral route a posteriori with a broad therapeutic time window. Those findings consolidate CBD as a promising treatment for neonatal HIBI, which is to be demonstrated in clinical trials currently in progress.

Keywords: brain; cannabidiol; hypoxia-ischemia; neuroprotection; newborn.

Conflict of interest statement

JM-O had a research agreement with GW Research Ltd. from 2010 to 2019. The remaining authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. The reviewer HL declared a past co-authorship with one of the authors JM to the handling Editor


Figure 1

Figure 1

Schematic representation of different molecular targets of cannabidiol (CBD) and their involvement on the mechanisms of hypoxic-ischemic brain injury (HIBI). Dot-lined boxes indicate which ones have been studied in preclinical models of neonatal HIBI.


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