Pharmacology of Palmitoylethanolamide and Related Compounds
Sammanfattning: Anandamide (AEA) is an endogenous fatty acid which activates the same cannabinoid receptors as ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive substance in marijuana. In vivo, anandamide exerts a number of actions including effects upon pain and inflammation. However, AEA has a short duration of action since it is rapidly metabolised, primarily by the intracellular enzyme fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH).The general aim of this thesis has been to identify and characterize compounds capable of preventing the metabolism of anandamide. The chemical approach was based on the endogenous anti-inflammatory compound palmitoylethanolamide (PEA), a compound related to anandamide with the ability to inhibit anandamide degradation by substrate competition, but without the ability to directly activate cannabinoid receptors.A number of compounds were identified as inhibitors of rat brain FAAH in the initial in vitro studies, without having major affinity for the cannabinoid receptors. In particular, palmitoylisopropylamide (PIA) was found to reduce the metabolism of AEA in intact C6 glioma cells with potency similar to the prototypical AEA reuptake inhibitor AM404. This compound was in addition found to exert less effect upon C6 glioma cell proliferation than either AM404 or the closely related uptake inhibitor VDM11. To evaluate if PIA was effective in vivo, a model of mast cell dependent inflammation, oedema of the ear following local injection of compound 48/80, was set up using anaesthetised mice. Initially, a CB2 cannabinoid receptor selective agonist was used to probe the model and demonstrated to produce an anti-oedema effect. In contrast, the compound was inactive in vitro in skin slice preparations. PIA showed a similar pattern, although there was a large variation in responses which affected the significance of the result obtained, as did the vehicle used to dissolve the compound.Taken together, the present data would suggest that PIA can inhibit the degradation of AEA without having deleterious effects upon cell proliferation or affinity for the cannabinoid receptors. Further experimentation is necessary to elucidate the usefulness of this compound in vivo.
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