Pitfalls and solutions in assaying anandamide transport in cells

Sergio Oddi, Filomena Fezza, Giuseppina Catanzaro, Chiara De Simone, Mariangela Pucci, Daniele Piomelli, Alessandro Finazzi-Agrò, Mauro Maccarrone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nonspecific binding of anandamide to plastic exhibits many features that could be mistaken as biological processes, thereby representing an important source of conflicting data on the uptake and release of this lipophilic substance. Herein, we propose an improved method to assay anandamide transport, by using glass slides (i.e., coverslips) as physical support to grow cells. Although the results obtained using plastic do not differ significantly from those obtained using glass, the new procedure has the advantage of being faster, simpler, and more accurate. In fact, the lack of aspecific adsorption of anandamide to the glass surface yields a lower background and a higher precision and accuracy in determining transport kinetics, especially for the export process. Remarkably, the kinetic parameters of anandamide uptake obtained with the old and the new procedures may be similar or different depending on the cell type, thus demonstrating the complexity of the interference of plastic on the transport process.jlr In addition, the novel procedure is particularly suitable for visualization and measurement of anandamide transport in intact cells by using a biotinylated derivative in confocal fluorescence microscopy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2435-2444
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Lipid Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010


  • Biotinylated derivative of anandamide
  • Confocal microscopy
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Glass coverslips
  • Lipid efflux
  • Plasticware

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Medicine(all)


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