1,2-Dihydro-4-hydroxy-2-oxo-1,8-naphthyridine-3-carboxamide derivative VL15 has been recently developed as a selective cannabinoid CB2 receptor compound. Given the high selectivity of this compound at the cannabinoid CB2 receptor and the well-known protective function of this receptor in neurological disorders with autoimmune component like multiple sclerosis, we assessed the immunomodulatory properties of VL15. We assessed on activated peripheral blood mononuclear cells), proliferation and viability, cell cycle progression and measured activation markers and the expression of phosphorylated proteins. We found that VL15 reduces PBMC proliferation slightly affecting cell vitality, blocks the cell cycle progression and down-regulates the levels of T cell activation markers as well as the expression of phosphorylated proteins, NF-kB, IKKαβ, IKBα, ERK and Akt. VL15 was also used in drug-permeability assays on Caco-2 cell line to evaluate its oral bioavailability and on MDCKII-hMDR1 cell lines to estimate its propensity to cross the blood-brain barrier by passive diffusion, in order to potentially maintain its efficiency on the infiltrating auto-reactive lymphocytes in the central nervous system. In these models, VL15 showed high intestinal absorption and good blood-brain barrier penetration. Our findings suggest that VL15, by controlling the immune response, might find potential application as orally administered drug in pathologies like multiple sclerosis.
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