The endocannabinoid system : an overview
Natalia Battista, Monia Di Tommaso, Monica Bari and Mauro Maccarrone
Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 2012|Volume 6|Article 9 | 1
Upon the identification of anandamide (AEA) in the porcine brain, numerous studies contributed to the current state of knowledge regarding all elements that form the “endocannabinoidsystem (ECS).” How this complex system of receptors, ligands, and enzymes is integrated in helping to regulate fundamental processes at level of central nervous and peripheral systems and how its regulation and dysregulation might counteract disturbances of such functions, is now a days still under investigation. However, the most recent advances on the physiological distribution andfunctional role of ECS allowed the progress of various research tools aimed at the therapeutic exploitation of endocannabinoid (eCB) signaling, as well as the development of novel drugs with pharmacological advantages. Here, we shall briefly overview the metabolic and signal transduction pathways of the main eCBs representatives, AEA, and 2-arachidonoyl-glycerol (2-AG), and we will discuss the therapeutic potential of new ECS-oriented drugs.
Keywords : anandamide, 2-arachidonoylglycerol, endocannabinoids, metabolic pathways, signal transduction