Anandamide increases swelling and reduces calcium sensitivity of mitochondria

Giuseppina Catanzaro, Cinzia Rapino, Sergio Oddi, Mauro Maccarrone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The endocannabinoid anandamide alters mitochondria-dependent signal transduction, thus controlling key cellular events like energy homeostasis and induction of apoptosis. Here, the ability of anandamide to directly affect the integrity of mitochondria was investigated on isolated organelles. We found that anandamide dose-dependently increases mitochondrial swelling, and reduces cytochrome c release induced by calcium ions. The effects of anandamide were independent of its target receptors (e.g., cannabinoid or vanilloid receptors), and were paralleled by decreased membrane potential and increased membrane fluidity. Overall, our data suggest that anandamide can impact mitochondrial physiology, by reducing calcium sensitivity and perturbing membrane properties of these organelles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-442
Number of pages4
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 16 2009


  • Anandamide
  • Apoptosis
  • Cannabinoid receptors
  • Cytochrome c release
  • Membrane fluidity
  • Mitochondria
  • Mitochondrial swelling
  • Vanilloid receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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