Effects of cannabinoids in membrane bilayers containing cholesterol.

Biochimica et biophysica acta (1999-08-14)
T Mavromoustakos, I Daliani

The thermotropic and dynamic properties of the biologically active Delta(8)-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta(8)-THC) and its inactive congener O-methyl-Delta(8)-tetrahydrocannabinol (Me-Delta(8)-THC) in DPPC/cholesterol (CHOL) bilayers have been studied using a combination of DSC and solid-state NMR spectroscopy. The obtained results showed differential effects of the two cannabinoids under study. These are summarized as follows: (a) the presence of the active compound fluidizes more significantly the DPPC/CHOL bilayers than the inactive analog as it is revealed by DSC and NMR spectroscopy results; (b) cholesterol seems to play a significant role in the way cannabinoids act in membrane bilayers; (c) the observed additional peaks in (13)C/MAS-NMR spectra which were cannabinoid specific offer an evidence of their different dynamic properties in membranes. In particular, the aromatic part of the inactive cannabinoid appears more mobile than that of the active one. This finding is in agreement with previously obtained X-ray data which locate the inactive cannabinoid in the hydrophobic core of the bilayer while the active one in the polar region; and (d) the observed downfield shift of C-1 carbon in the preparation containing the active cannabinoid is a strong evidence that Delta(8)-THC resides nearby the polar region where also cholesterol is well known to locate itself. Such downfield shift is absent when Me-Delta(8)-THC is resided in the membrane bilayer. These differential effects of the two cannabinoids propose that the phospholipid/cholesterol core of the membrane may play an important role in the mode of cannabinoid action by regulating their thermotropic and dynamic properties.

Product Number
Product Description

(−)-Δ8-THC solution, 1.0 mg/mL in methanol, ampule of 1 mL, certified reference material, Cerilliant®