Different Routes to Inhibit Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase: Do All Roads Lead to the Same Place?

Giacomo Giacovazzo, Tiziana Bisogno, Fabiana Piscitelli, Roberta Verde, Sergio Oddi, Mauro Maccarrone, Roberto Coccurello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is robust evidence indicating that enhancing the endocannabinoid (eCB) tone has therapeutic potential in several brain disorders. The inhibition of eCBs degradation by fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) blockade, is the best-known option to increase N-acyl-ethanolamines-(NAEs)-mediated signaling. Here, we investigated the hypothesis that intranasal delivery is an effective route for different FAAH inhibitors, such as URB597 and PF-04457845. URB597 and PF-04457845 were subchronically administered in C57BL/6 male mice every other day for 20 days for overall 10 drug treatment, and compared for their ability to inhibit FAAH activity by the way of three different routes of administration: intranasal (i.n.), intraperitoneal (i.p.) and oral (p.o.). Lastly, we compared the efficacy of the three routes in terms of URB597-induced increase of NAEs levels in liver and in different brain areas. Results: We show that PF-04457845 potently inhibits FAAH regardless the route selected, and that URB597 was less effective in the brain after p.o. administration while reached similar effects by i.n. and i.p. routes. Intranasal URB597 delivery always increased NAEs levels in brain areas, whereas a parallel increase was not observed in the liver. By showing the efficacy of intranasal FAAH inhibition, we provide evidence that nose-to-brain delivery is a suitable alternative to enhance brain eCB tone for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders and improve patients' compliance.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - Sep 11 2019


  • endocannabinoid tone
  • fatty acid amide hydrolase
  • intranasal drug delivery
  • patients’ compliance
  • PF-04457845
  • URB597

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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