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Modulation of Microglia Cannabinoid Receptor 2 to Treat Neuroinflammation in Parkinson’s Disease

Study Rationale:                   
Numerous studies have highlighted a potential role of neuroinflammation in Parkinson’s disease whereby the immune cells of the brain called microglia may produce inflammatory factors that are toxic to dopamine neurons. Cannabinoid type-2 receptors (CB2) are largely found on activated microglia and are increased in people with and models of Parkinson’s disease. This project aims to investigate the therapeutic potential of a novel CB2 modulator.

We hypothesize that modulation of CB2 will alter the inflammatory environment and mitigate inflammation-induced cell death.

Study Design:
To address this question, we will conduct detailed analysis to determine the extent of neuroprotection provided by a novel drug targeting cannabinoid type 2 receptors in a model of Parkinson’s disease. We will also use cell culture techniques to investigate the microglial response to understand the impact of inflammation on neurons after CB2 modulation.

Impact on Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease:             
This project has potential to identify a disease-modifying treatment for Parkinson’s disease.

Next Steps for Development:
If successful, this study will open the door to further evaluate the safety and efficacy of this novel CB2 modulator in other pre-clinical models as a next step toward the clinic.

Additional Support:
This project was selected for a Stern Discovery Award with support from the former Michael Stern Parkinson's Research Foundation, which merged with The Michael J. Fox Foundation in 2015.


  • Malú G. Tansey, PhD

    Gainesville, FL United States

  • Bob M. Moore, PhD

    Memphis, TN United States

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