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Brain Molecules and Appetite: The Case of Oleoylethanolamide

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The neurobiological mechanisms of feeding involve the activity of several brain areas as well as the engagement of endogenous compounds such as ghrelin, melanin-concentrating hormone, orexin, neuropeptide Y, leptin, vasoactive intestinal peptide, cholecystokinin, among others. Furthermore, the family of food-intake modulators has been enlarged due to the inclusion of lipids such as N-arachidonoylethanolamide (anandamide), as well as oleoylethanolamide (OEA). In this regard, the food-intake suppressing properties of OEA have been described since pharmacological administration of this compound induces anorexia. It has been suggested that satiety induced by OEA may be through the activation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-α (PPAR-α), a ligand-activated transcription factor that modulates several pathways of lipid metabolism. The mechanism of action of OEA remains unknown, it has been suggested that the ingestion of dietary fat stimulates epithelial cells of the small intestine and promotes the synthesis and release of OEA. Upon its release, this lipid acts within the gut engaging sensory fibers of the vagus nerve to diminish food-intake. Here, recent advances in our understanding of the neurobiological role of OEA in modulation of feeding will be reviewed. Also, we highlight the emerging molecular mechanism of anorexia induced by OEA.
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Keywords: Anorexia; central nervous system; endocannabinoids; feeding; hypothalamus

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 March 2013

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  • Central Nervous System Agents in Medicinal Chemistry aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design for the discovery of new central nervous system agents. Each issue of the journal will contain a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of current topics in central nervous system medicinal chemistry.

    Central Nervous System Agents in Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments in central nervous system drug discovery.
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