Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Human exposure to CBD can be through recreational marijuana use, commercially available CBD-containing products, and medical treatments. Previous studies found that cannabidiol may activate the master regulator of adipogenesis, peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma (PPARγ). Here we investigated the effects of CBD on adipogenesis in human and mouse multipotent mesenchymal stromal stem cells (MSCs). We tested the effects of CBD on nuclear receptor activation and adipogenic potential to demonstrate the mechanism of CBD effects and employed the in vitro MSC differentiation models to assess adipogenic effects of CBD.Using transient transfection assays, we demonstrated that CBD activated mouse and human PPARγ, but not its heterodimeric partner, the retinoid ‘X’ receptor, RXR. Our results showed that CBD increased lipid accumulation and the expression of adipogenic genes in mouse and human MSCs in vitro. Adipogenic differentiation induced by CBD was significantly decreased by the PPARγ antagonist T0070907, supporting the hypothesis that CBD promoted differentiation via PPARγ. Taken together, our results indicate that in humans and in mice, CBD induced adipogenic differentiation in MSCs through a PPARγ-dependent mechanism.
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