Endogenous cannabinoids in the brain and peripheral tissues: Regulation of their levels and control of food intake

I Matias, , T Bisogno, V Di Marzo
Int J Obes. 2006-03-29; 30(S1): S7-S12
DOI: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0803271

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1. Int J Obes (Lond). 2006 Apr;30 Suppl 1:S7-S12. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0803271.

Endogenous cannabinoids in the brain and peripheral tissues: regulation of their
levels and control of food intake.

Matias I(1), Bisogno T, Di Marzo V.

Author information:
(1)Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche,
Pozzuoli (NA), Italy.

Endocannabinoids were first defined in 1995 as ‘endogenous substances capable of
binding to and functionally activating the cannabinoid receptors’. To date, two
well-established endocannabinoids, N-arachidonoylethanolamine (anandamide) and
2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), as well as a few other putative ligands, all
derived from long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, have been identified in
animal tissues. The biosynthetic and metabolic pathways for anandamide and 2-AG
have been elucidated, and most of the enzymes therein involved have been cloned.
We now know that CB1 receptors, and endocannabinoids in tissue concentrations
sufficient to activate them, are more widely distributed than originally
thought, and are found in brain and peripheral organs involved in the control of
energy intake and processing, including the hypothalamus, nucleus accumbens,
brainstem, vagus nerve, gastrointestinal tract, adipose tissue and liver.
Endocannabinoid biosynthetic and inactivating pathways are under the regulation
of neuropeptides and hormones involved in energy homeostasis, and
endocannabinoid levels are directly affected by the diet. Endocannabinoids, in
turn, regulate the expression and action of mediators involved in nutrient
intake and processing. These cross-talks are at the basis of the proposed role
of endocannabinoid signalling in the control of food intake, from invertebrates
to lower vertebrates and mammals, and their perturbation appears to contribute
to the development of eating disorders.

DOI: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0803271
PMID: 16570107 [Indexed for MEDLINE]

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