Effects of anandamide on polyamine levels and cell growth in human colon cancer cells

Michele Linsalata, Maria Notarnicola, Valeria Tutino, Maurizio Bifulco, Antonietta Santoro, Chiara Laezza, Caterina Messa, Antonella Orlando, Maria Gabriella Caruso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Anandamide (AEA) is an endogenous agonist for cannabinoid receptor CB1-R and seems to be involved in the control of cancer growth. Polyamines are compounds that play an important role in cell proliferation and differentiation. Our aim was to investigate the effect of AEA on the polyamine levels (putrescine, spermidine and spermine) and cell growth of three human colon cancer cell lines, positive for CB1-R. Materials and Methods: After AEA treatment of DLD-1, HT-29 and SW620 cells, polyamine analysis was performed by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and cell growth was measured by 3-(4,5 di-methylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) test. CB1 gene expression was determined using reverse transcription and polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Results: AEA significantly reduced polyamine levels and cell proliferation dose-dependently when the tested cell lines were exposed for 24 h and 48 h. This inhibitory effect was mediated by CB1-R, since SR 1411716A, a selective CB-1 receptor antagonist, was able to entirely antagonize the effect of AEA. CB1-R mRNA levels were enhanced after AEA treatment in DLD-1 cells, whereas no induction was found in HT-29 and SW620 cells. Conclusion: It appears that mechanisms by which AEA may affect growth of colon cancer cells involve a decrease in cell proliferation rate by reducing the polyamine levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2583-2589
Number of pages7
JournalAnticancer Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010


  • Anandamide
  • Cell growth
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Polyamines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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