Evaluating the Therapeutic Effects of Cannflavins on Hippocampal Neuronal Systems Function in the Valproic Acid Model of Autism Spectrum Disorder

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University of Guelph

Abstract

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) show significant variability in symptom presentation. No pharmacological therapies exist to treat the core symptoms. There is widespread interest in cannabis as a therapy in ASD, yet the therapeutic potential of select cannabis constituents has not been explored. Here, the effects of cannflavin A or cannflavin B on hippocampal (HIP) neuronal morphology, activity and cell death in vitro were evaluated using the valproic acid (VPA) idiopathic rat model of ASD. HIP primary cultures were treated sub-chronically, every 3 days, with cannflavin A, cannflavin B (1nM), or vehicle. Cannflavin B increased dendritic branching in male, but not female, VPA-derived HIP cultures. Pre-and post-treatment neuronal activity recordings revealed that cannflavin A and cannflavin B normalized VPA-induced alterations in activity with sex-dependent effects. These in vitro findings indicate therapeutic potential for cannflavins in ASD, although further in vivo studies are required.

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Cannflavins, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Valproic Acid Model, Multielectrode Array

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