Palmitoylethanolamide against depression and cardiovascular diseases

Luca Carnevali and colleagues published a nice paper: ‘Antidepressant-like activity and cardioprotective effects of fatty acid amide hydrolase inhibitor URB694 in socially stressed Wistar Kyoto rats’ in European Neuropsychopharmacology (2015), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.euroneuro.2015.07.015.

The authors stipulated an increasing interest in the role of the endocannabinoid (ECB) system in the regulation of emotional behavior and cardiovascular function.

Anandamide is primarily catabolized in vivo by the enzyme fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), which also cleaves the noncannabinoid fatty acid ethanolamides oleoylethanolamide (OEA) and palmitoylethanolamide (PEA)

Studies have demonstrated that facilitation of anandamide signaling via inhibition of FAAH activity exerts antidepressant-like activity in chronically stressed rats. Based on these findings and comparable ones the authors pointed out the rationale for the preclinical assessment of the therapeutic potential of FAAH inhibitors for the treatment of depression and cardiovascular comorbidity. Of course the same hold true for the administration of palmitoylethanolamide.

Plasma levels of PEA (and anandamide) increased after inhibiting the enzyme FAAH. Also parameters related to depression and cardio-morbidity improved, and the authors concluded:

This study provides solid evidence that repeated social stress induces depressive-like biological and behavioral symptoms in WKY rats, which can be corrected by the potent and selective FAAH inhibitor URB694. Intriguingly, this pharmacological approach appears to confer also cardioprotection against the adverse consequences of social stress in this animal model.

Source: Carnevali, L., et al., Antidepressant-like activity and cardioprotective effects of fatty acid amide hydrolase inhibitor URB694 in socially stressed…. European Neuropsychopharmacology (2015), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.euroneuro.2015.07.015

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