Inflammation in the Eye, uveitis: protection with palmitoylethanolamide

Anterior uveitis is an inflammation of the iris and parts of the muscles of the eye-lens. The main therapies for uveitis are corticosteroids. In a recent experiment (2015) Italian pharmacologists proved that palmitoylethanolamide reduces this inflammation as effective as corticosteroids.

In a series of elaborate experiments they tested PEA and compared the effects to dexamethasone, a corticosteroid. Their conclusion was:

PEA is a protective endogenous mediator produced during inflammatory conditions to counteract inflammation, neuronal damage and pain. This study demonstrates that PEA treatment is able to attenuate the eye inflammation induced by inflammatory molecules in the rat.

Importantly, PEA was effective in counteracting the uveitis-inducing effects of LPS, when administered, 1 h before and 7h after challenge with such inflammatory molecules. The later time is a point when inflammatory responses, including TNF-α and NO release in the aqueous humor, have already commenced.

Thus, these protective effects of PEA may be due to the inhibition of some specific cytokines which are under the control of NF-κB pathway.

The final conclusion was:

Anyway, the results of the present study suggest that PEA could have an important role as therapeutic target in ocular inflammation and could be an interesting agent for the treatment of human uveitis.


Impellizzeri D, Ahmad A, Bruschetta G, Di Paola R, Crupi R, Paterniti I, Esposito E, Cuzzocrea S. The anti-inflammatory effects of palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) on endotoxin-induced uveitis in rats.
Eur J Pharmacol. 2015 Apr 28. pii: S0014-2999(15)00369-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2015.04.025.
PMID: 25934566

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