Advanced search
Start date

Autophagy modulation by cannabinoids: neuroprotection in Parkinson's Disease

Grant number: 19/02821-8
Support type:Research Projects - Thematic Grants
Duration: February 01, 2020 - January 31, 2025
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Pharmacology - Biochemical and Molecular Pharmacology
Principal Investigator:Soraya Soubhi Smaili
Grantee:Soraya Soubhi Smaili
Home Institution: Escola Paulista de Medicina (EPM). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus São Paulo. São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers:Carlos Eduardo Neves Girardi ; Claudia Bincoletto Trindade ; Fabio Cardoso Cruz ; Gustavo José da Silva Pereira ; Regina Helena da Silva ; Rodrigo Portes Ureshino ; Vanessa Costhek Abílio
Associated scholarship(s):20/08840-1 - Study of autophagy and neuroprotection mediated by cannabinoids compounds in vitro and in vivo models of Parkinson's Disease, BP.PD


The process of macroautophagia (autophagy) has been the focus of studies on various topics such as neurodegeneration, immune system, inflammation and cancer. In this way, understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms that modulate aautophagy utophagy is fundamental. In fact, these studies may help in the identification of important targets for the development of new drugs and therapies. In progressive neurodegenerative disorders, long-term or cure treatments are not yet available. At the same time, these have gained relevance with the increasing aging of the world population. It is known that autophagy is capable of promoting the improvement of toxicity induced by the accumulation of alpha-synuclein, but may also contribute to the elimination of malformed proteins. Many authors have presented concrete evidence of autophagic action in neuroprotection and research safe tools to induce it in patients. Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most prevalent age-related neurodegenerative disease. Evidence shows that there is a correlation between changes in autophagic processes and PD. In this sense, the accumulation of alpha-synuclein protein aggregates (Lewy bodies, the main pathological marker of PD) has been shown to reduce autophagy, aggravating PD-related neurodegenerative processes. Cannabinoid substances such as delta-9-THC and cannabidiol have shown neuroprotective potential and in vitro studies suggest a beneficial effect on neurodegeneration underlying PD. Preliminary data from our laboratories indicate that cannabidiol may have a pro-autophagic effect which reduces behavioral alterations related to PD. However, the mechanisms of the relationship between cannabidiol, autophagy and PD need to be studied. Thus, the aim of this project will be to investigate the role of cannabinoids as potential modulators of autophagy in vitro and in vivo models of PD. The neuroprotective effects of different cannabinoids will be studied. In addition, the induction and modulation of autophagic signaling pathways and their ability to promote neuroprotection will be investigated and translated to studies in patients. (AU)