Endocannabinoids are lipid mediators thought to modulate central and peripheral neural functions. We report here gas chromatography-electron impact mass spectrometry analysis of human brain, showing that lipid extracts contain anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), the most active endocannabinoids known to date. Human brain also contained the endocannabinoid-like compounds N-oleoylethanolamine, N-palmitoylethanolamine and N-stearoylethanolamine. Anandamide and 2-AG (0.16 ± 0.05 and 0.10 ± 0.05 nmol/mg protein, respectively) represented 7.7% and 4.8% of total endocannabinoid-like compounds, respectively, N-Palmitoyethanolamine was the most abundant (50%), followed by N-oleoyl (23.6%) and N-stearoyl (13.9%) ethanolamines. A similar composition in endocannabinoid-like compounds was found in human neuroblastoma CHP100 and lymphoma U937 cells, and also in rat brain. Remarkably, human meningioma specimens showed an approximately six-fold smaller content of all N-acylethanolamines, but not of 2-AG, and a similar decrease was observed in a human glioblastoma. These ex vivo results fully support the purported roles of endocannabinoids in the nervous system.
- Human brain
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience