Regulation of brain anandamide by acute administration of ethanol

Belen Ferrer, Francisco Javier Bermúdez-Silva, Ainhoa Bilbao, Lily Alvarez-Jaimes, Irene Sanchez-Vera, Andrea Giuffrida, Antonia Serrano, Elena Baixeras, Satishe Khaturia, Miguel Navarro, Loren H. Parsons, Daniele Piomelli, Fernando Rodríguez De Fonseca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


The endogenous cannabinoid acylethanolamide AEA (arachidonoylethanolamide; also known as anandamide) participates in the neuroadaptations associated with chronic ethanol exposure. However, no studies have described the acute actions of ethanol on AEA production and degradation. In the present study, we investigated the time course of the effects of the intraperitoneal administration of ethanol (4 g/kg of body mass) on the endogenous levels of AEA in central and peripheral tissues. Acute ethanol administration decreased AEA in the cerebellum, the hippocampus and the nucleus accumbens of the ventral striatum, as well as in plasma and adipose tissue. Parallel decreases of a second acylethanolamide, PEA (palmitoylethanolamide), were observed in the brain. Effects were observed 45-90 min after ethanol administration. In vivo studies revealed that AEA decreases were associated with a remarkable inhibition of the release of both anandamide and glutamate in the nucleus accumbens. There were no changes in the expression and enzymatic activity of the main enzyme that degrades AEA, the fatty acid amidohydrolase. Acute ethanol administration did not change either the activity of N-acyltransferase, the enzyme that catalyses the synthesis of the AEA precursor, or the expression of NAPE-PLD (N-acylphosphatidylethanolamine-hydrolysing phospholipase D), the enzyme that releases AEA from membrane phospholipid precursors. These results suggest that receptor-mediated release of acylethanolamide is inhibited by the acute administration of ethanol, and that this effect is not derived from increased fatty acid ethanolamide degradation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-104
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 15 2007


  • Alcohol
  • Anandamide
  • Arachidonoylethanolamide (AEA)
  • Cannabinoid
  • Fatty acid amidohydrolase (FAAH)
  • Hippocampus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Regulation of brain anandamide by acute administration of ethanol'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this