Cannabinoids and endocannabinoids in metabolic disorders with focus on diabetes.
Given the recent demonstration that oleoylethanolamide (OEA), a cannabinoid receptor-inactive N-acylethanolamine, decreases food intake by activating the nuclear receptor PPARalpha (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha) in the periphery, we here evaluated the effects of both saturated and unsaturated C18 N-acylethanolamides (C18:0; C18:1; C18:2) in mice feeding behavior after overnight starvation. Our results show stearoylethanolamide (SEA, C18:0) exerts, unlike other unsaturated C18 homologs, a marked dose-dependent anorexic effect evident already at 2 h after its intraperitoneal administration. In addition, oral administration of SEA (25 mg/kg) was also effective in reducing food consumption, an effect ascribed to the molecule itself and not to its catabolites. Moreover, although the anorexic response to oral administered SEA was not associated with changes in the levels of various hematochemical parameters (e.g., glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides, leptin) nor in liver mRNA expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) including PPARalpha, the anorexic effect of SEA was interestingly accompanied by a reduction in liver stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1 (SCD-1) mRNA expression. As SCD-1 has been recently proposed as a molecular target for the treatment of obesity, the novel observation provided here that SEA reduces food intake in mice in a structurally selective manner, in turn, correlated with downregulation of liver SCD-1 mRNA expression, has the potential of providing new insights on a class of lipid mediators with suitable properties for the pharmacological treatment of over-eating dysfunctions.