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Inhibitors of the Endocannabinoid-Degrading Enzymes, or how to Increase Endocannabinoid's Activity by Preventing their Hydrolysis

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Endocannabinoids are lipid transmitters binding and activating the cannabinoid receptors. Both cannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoids, such as 2-arachidonoylglycerol and anandamide, have been shown to control numerous physiological and pathological processes, including in the central nervous system. Thus regulating endocannabinoid levels in-vivo represents an interesting therapeutic perspective in several CNS-related diseases. To date four enzymes - Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase (FAAH), N-Acylethanolamine-hydrolyzing Acid Amidase (NAAA), Monoacylglycerol Lipase (MAGL), α/β-Hydrolase Domain 6 (ABHD6) - were shown to control endocannabinoid levels in tissues or in intact cells. While the searches for NAAA and ABHD6 inhibitors are still in their beginning, a growing number of selective and potent inhibitors are now available to inhibit FAAH and MAGL activities. Here, based on the literature and patent literature, we review the compounds of the different chemical families that have been developed to inhibit these enzymes, with a special emphasis on FAAH and MAGL inhibitors.

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Keywords: ABHD12; ABHD6; FAAH; Fatty acid amide hydrolase; MAGL; N-acylethanolamine-hydrolyzing acid amidase; inflammation; inhibitors; monoacylglycerol lipase; palmitoylethanolamide

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-04-01

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  • Recent Patents on CNS Drug Discovery publishes review articles on recent patents in the field of CNS drug discovery e.g. novel bioactive compounds, analogs & targets. A selection of important and recent patents on CNS drug discovery is also included in the journal. The journal is essential reading for all researchers involved in CNS drug design and discovery.
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