Inhibitory Effect of Cannabidiol on the Activation of NLRP3 Inflammasome Is Associated with Its Modulation of the P2X7 Receptor in Human Monocytes

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Cannabidiol (CBD), a phytocannabinoid, has been reported to have anti-inflammatory effects associated with NLRP3 inflammasome activation, but its mechanism of anti-inflammasome action remains unclear. Herein, we report CBD's effect on NLRP3 inflammasome activation and its modulation of P2X7, an inflammasome activation-related receptor, in human THP-1 monocytes. CBD (0.1, 1, and 10 μM) exerted anti-inflammasome activity in LPS-nigericin-stimulated THP-1 monocytes by reducing media IL-1β concentration (by 63.9%, 64.1%, and 83.1%, respectively), which was similar to the known NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitors oridonin and MCC950 (16.9% vs 20.8% and 17.4%, respectively; at 10 μM). CBD (10 μM) decreased nigericin-alone- and nigericin-lipopolysaccharide-induced potassium efflux by 13.7% and 13.0%, respectively, in THP-1 monocytes, strongly suggesting P2X7 receptor modulation. Computational docking data supported the potential for CBD binding to the P2X7 receptor via interaction with GLU 172 and VAL 173 residues. Overall, the observed CBD suppressive effect on NLRP3 inflammasome activation in THP-1 monocytes was associated with decreased potassium efflux, as well as in silico prediction of P2X7 receptor binding. CBD inhibitory effects on the NLRP3 inflammasome may contribute to the overall anti-inflammatory effects reported for this phytocannabinoid.

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Journal of Natural Products