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Effect Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol on milk proteins and lipid levels in HC11 cells

Updated: Oct 18, 2022

September 2022

"Pregnant and lactating women have been discouraged from using cannabis by Health Canada. However, the increasing rate of cannabis use among pregnant women has presented an urgent need to investigate its physiological effects during the perinatal period. During pregnancy, the mammary gland (MG) undergoes remodeling, which involves alveolar differentiation of mammary epithelial cells (MECs), which is essential for breast milk production and secretion. Limited evidence has been reported on the impact of cannabis or its components, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), on MG development or MEC differentiation. In this study, we investigated the effects of THC and CBD on the differentiation of MECs by assessing changes in cellular viability, lipid accumulation, and gene and protein expression of major milk protein and lipid synthesizing markers. using the HC11 cells as a model. We hypothesized that THC and CBD will negatively impact the synthesis of milk proteins and lipids, as well as lipid markers in HC11 cells. Our results demonstrated that THC and CBD reduced cellular viability at concentrations above 30μM and 20μM, respectively. Relative to control, 10μM THC and 10μM CBD reduced mRNA levels of milk proteins (CSN2 and WAP), lipid synthesizing and glucose transport markers (GLUT 1, HK2, FASN, FABP4, PLIN2 and LPL), as well as whey acidic protein and lipid levels. In addition, co-treatment of a CB2 antagonist with THC, and a CB2 agonist with CBD, reversed the impact of THC and CBD on the mRNA levels of key markers, respectively. In conclusion, 10μM THC and CBD altered the differentiation of HC11 cells, in part via the CB2 receptor."

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