Ester Shohami

L. Magid, S. Heymann, M. Elgali, L. Avram, Y. Cohen, S. Liraz-Zaltsman, R. Mechoulam, and E. Shohami. 2019. “Role of CB2 Receptor in the Recovery of Mice after Traumatic Brain Injury.” Journal of Neurotrauma, 36, 11, Pp. 1836-1846. Publisher's Version Abstract
Cannabis is one of the most widely used plant drugs in the world today. In spite of the large number of scientific reports on medical marijuana, there still exists much controversy surrounding its use and the potential for abuse due to the undesirable psychotropic effects. However, recent developments in medicinal chemistry of novel non-psychoactive synthetic cannabinoids have indicated that it is possible to separate some of the therapeutic effects from the psychoactivity. We have previously shown that treatment with the endocannabinoid 2-AG, which binds to both CB1 and CB2 receptors 1 h after traumatic brain injury in mice, attenuates neurological deficits, edema formation, infarct volume, blood-brain barrier permeability, neuronal cell loss at the CA3 hippocampal region, and neuroinflammation. Recently, we synthesized a set of camphor-resorcinol derivatives, which represent a novel series of CB2 receptor selective ligands. Most of the novel compounds exhibited potent binding and agonistic properties at the CB2 receptors with very low affinity for the CB1 receptor, and some were highly anti-inflammatory. This selective binding correlated with their intrinsic activities. HU-910 and HU-914 were selected in the present study to evaluate their potential effect in the pathophysiology of traumatic brain injury (TBI). In mice and rats subjected to closed-head injury and treated with these novel compounds, we showed enhanced neurobehavioral recovery, inhibition of tumor necrosis factor α production, increased synaptogenesis, and partial recovery of the cortical spinal tract. We propose these CB2 agonists as potential drugs for development of novel therapeutic modality to TBI. Copyright © 2019, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
M.T. Joy, E. Ben Assayag, D. Shabashov-Stone, S. Liraz-Zaltsman, J. Mazzitelli, M. Arenas, N. Abduljawad, E. Kliper, A.D. Korczyn, N.S. Thareja, E.L. Kesner, M. Zhou, S. Huang, T.K. Silva, N. Katz, N.M. Bornstein, A.J. Silva, E. Shohami, and S.T. Carmichael. 2019. “CCR5 Is a Therapeutic Target for Recovery after Stroke and Traumatic Brain Injury.” Cell, 176, 5, Pp. 1143-1157.e13. Publisher's Version Abstract
We tested a newly described molecular memory system, CCR5 signaling, for its role in recovery after stroke and traumatic brain injury (TBI). CCR5 is uniquely expressed in cortical neurons after stroke. Post-stroke neuronal knockdown of CCR5 in pre-motor cortex leads to early recovery of motor control. Recovery is associated with preservation of dendritic spines, new patterns of cortical projections to contralateral pre-motor cortex, and upregulation of CREB and DLK signaling. Administration of a clinically utilized FDA-approved CCR5 antagonist, devised for HIV treatment, produces similar effects on motor recovery post stroke and cognitive decline post TBI. Finally, in a large clinical cohort of stroke patients, carriers for a naturally occurring loss-of-function mutation in CCR5 (CCR5-Δ32) exhibited greater recovery of neurological impairments and cognitive function. In summary, CCR5 is a translational target for neural repair in stroke and TBI and the first reported gene associated with enhanced recovery in human stroke. © 2019 Elsevier Inc. Genetic and small molecule-based perturbation of CCR5 promotes functional recovery from stroke and traumatic brain injury. © 2019 Elsevier Inc.