Cannabidiol markedly alleviates skin and liver fibrosis

Carmen del Río, Francisco Ruiz-Pino, María E. Prados, Bernd L. Fiebich, Manuel Tena-Sempere, Eduardo Muñoz

Cannabidiol (CBD) has been suggested as a potential therapy for inflammatory and fibrotic diseases. Cannabidiol was demonstrated to reduce alcohol-induced liver inflammation and steatosis but its specific activity on the fibrotic process was not investigated. Herein, the antifibrotic effects of cannabidiol in the skin were analysed in vitro using NIH-3T3 fibroblasts and human dermal fibroblasts and in vivo using the bleomycin-induced model of skin fibrosis. In a second model, non-alcoholic liver fibrosis was induced in mice by CCl4 exposure. Cannabidiol was administered daily, intraperitoneally in mice challenged with bleomycin and orally in CCl4 mice, and skin and liver fibrosis and inflammation were assessed by immunochemistry. Cannabidiol inhibited collagen gene transcription and synthesis and prevented TGFβ-and IL-4 induced fibroblast migration. In the bleomycin model, cannabidiol prevented skin fibrosis and collagen accumulation around skin blood vessels, and in the CCl4 model cannabidiol significantly attenuated liver fibrosis measured by picrosirius red and Tenascin C staining and reduced T cell and macrophage infiltration. Altogether, our data further support the rationale of the medicinal use of this cannabinoid, as well as cannabis preparations containing it, in the management of fibrotic diseases including Systemic Sclerosis and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.

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