Endocannabinoids: Some Like it Fat (and Sweet Too)
J Neuroendocrinology. 2008-04-17; 20(s1): 100-109
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There is growing interest in the commercialisation of the CB1 receptor antagonist Rimonabant in Europe for the treatment of obesity and the metabolic syndrome. Clinical trials have shown that CB1 receptor blockers are able to reduce not only food intake but also abdominal adiposity and its metabolic sequelae. Accordingly, CB1 receptors, and tissue concentrations of endocannabinoids sufficient to activate them, are present in all brain and peripheral organs involved in the control of energy balance, including the hypothalamus, nucleus accumbens, pancreas, adipose tissue, skeletal muscle and liver. At the central level, the endocannabinoid system seems to play a dual role in the regulation of food intake by hedonic and homeostatic energy regulation. At the peripheral level, the endocannabinoid system seems to behave as a system that reduces energy expenditure and directs energy balance towards energy storage into fat. The emerging role of the endocannabinoid system in energy balance at both central and peripheral levels will be discussed in this review.