In the last three decades, we witnessed a concomitant major increase in lifespan and a worldwide increasing incidence of chronic diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. Disruption of energy homeostasis and systemic inflammation appear as common traits of these epidemic human diseases. The conventional endocannabinoid (eCB) system encompasses two G-protein–coupled receptors (GPCRs), their endogenous ligands (anandamide and 2-AG), and the enzymes essential for eCB biosynthesis and hydrolytic inactivation. Nonetheless, the family of eCB-like derivatives is growing constantly including other N-acylethanolamines (NAEs) and 2-monoacylglycerols (2-MAGs) that do not bind canonical CB receptors rather other orphan G-protein–coupled receptors or peroxisome proliferator-activated nuclear receptors (PPARs). Here, we focus on the recent knowledge gathered on one such PPAR endocannabinoid ligand, oleoylethanolamide (OEA), from the identification of its synthesis in the small intestine to its anorexiant function with particular emphasis on our discovery of the main brain neurotransmitters system involved in its satiating effects.
Part of the book: Cannabinoids in Health and Disease