CB2 Receptor Deficiency Increases Amyloid Pathology and Alters Tau Processing in a Transgenic Mouse Model of Alzheimer’s Disease Academic Article uri icon


  • The endocannabinoid CB₂ receptor system has been implicated in the neuropathology of Alzheimer's disease (AD). In order to investigate the impact of the CB₂ receptor system on AD pathology, a colony of mice with a deleted CB₂ receptor gene, CNR2, was established on a transgenic human mutant APP background for pathological comparison with CB₂ receptor-sufficient transgenic mice. J20 APP (PDGFB-APPSwInd) mice were bred over two generations with CNR2⁻/⁻ (Cnr2(tm1Dgen)/J) mice to produce a colony of J20 CNR2⁺/⁺ and J20 CNR2⁻/⁻ mice. Seventeen J20 CNR2⁺/⁺ mice (12 females, 5 males) and 16 J20 CNR2⁻/⁻ mice (11 females, 5 males) were killed at 12 months, and their brains were interrogated for AD-related pathology with both biochemistry and immunocytochemistry (ICC). In addition to amyloid-dependent endpoints such as soluble Aβ production and plaque deposition quantified with 6E10 staining, the effect of CB2 receptor deletion on total soluble mouse tau production was assayed by using a recently developed high-sensitivity assay. Results revealed that soluble Aβ42 and plaque deposition were significantly increased in J20 CNR2⁻/⁻ mice relative to CNR2⁺/⁺ mice. Microgliosis, quantified with ionized calcium-binding adapter molecule 1 (Iba-1) staining, did not differ between groups, whereas plaque associated microglia was more abundant in J20 CNR2⁻/⁻ mice. Total tau was significantly suppressed in J20 CNR2⁻/⁻ mice relative to J20 CNR2⁺/⁺ mice. The results confirm the constitutive role of the CB₂ receptor system both in reducing amyloid plaque pathology in AD and also support tehpotential of cannabinoid therapies targeting CB₂ to reduce Aβ; however, the results suggest that interventions may have a divergent effect on tau pathology.

author list (cited authors)

  • Koppel, J., Vingtdeux, V., Marambaud, P., d’Abramo, C., Jimenez, H., Stauber, M., Friedman, R., & Davies, P.

citation count

  • 14

publication date

  • January 2013