Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Discovery Of Mechanism That Processes 'THC' Type Brain Compound May Lead To New Medicines For Pain, Addiction

Date:
March 31, 2009
Source:
Stony Brook University Medical Center
Summary:
Scientists have discovered a new molecular mechanism for the processing of endocannabinoids, brain compounds similar to THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, and essential in physiological processes such as pain, appetite, and memory.

Path of FABPs as intracellular carriers for AEA.
Credit: Martin Kaczocha, Stony Brook University

Dale Deutsch, Ph.D., Professor of Biochemistry and Cell Biology at Stony Brook University and colleagues discovered a new molecular mechanism for the processing of endocannabinoids, brain compounds similar to THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, and essential in physiological processes such as pain, appetite, and memory.

Reported online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the finding could pave the way for new medicines for pain, addiction, appetite control and other disorders.

Dr. Deutsch and colleagues in the Departments of Biochemistry and Cell Biology (Martin Kaczocha) and Neurobiology and Behavior (Sherrye Glaser, Ph.D.) are the first to successfully identify two known fatty acid binding proteins (FABPs) that carry the endocannabinoid anandamide (AEA), a neurotransmitter, from the cell membrane to interior of the cell where it is destroyed. This identification enabled the research team to inhibit FABPs in various laboratory experiments and thereby reduce AEA breakdown inside cells. In their study, “Identification of intracellular carriers for the endocannabinoid anandamide,” the researchers report that they decreased the breakdown of AEA in some instances by approximately 50 percent.

“Inhibiting FABPs could potentially raise the levels of AEA in the brain’s synapses,” says Dr. Deutsch. “Naturally occurring AEA levels have been shown to curb pain without the negative side effects, such as motor coordination problems, from molecules like THC. Therefore, it makes sense to target AEA for therapeutic purposes.”

He emphasizes that their groundbreaking discovery of the role of FABPs in transporting this class of neurotransmitters may prove to be a crucial step in developing novel drug targets for endocannabinoids by way of inhibiting FABPs. In support of the research, The State University of New York (SUNY) Stony Brook Office of Technology Licensing and Industry Relations (OTLIR) has filed U.S. Patent applications comprising the discovery.

The OTLIR manages all intellectual property matters for the SUNY Research Foundation. In actively marketing this unlicensed technology created by Dr. Deutsch, the Stony Brook OTLIR welcomes commercial entities interested in partnering with the University. The licensing agent for the project is Adam DeRosa of the OTLIR.

The breakdown of AEA requires two factors. First, there needs to be a mechanism for transporting AEA to the location where it is inactivated because AEA is a fatty compound and thus unable to move inside the watery cellular environment. Second, the cell must express an enzyme called FAAH, which controls the breakdown and inactivation of AEA. In the laboratory, the researchers coaxed a nonneuronal cell type (COS-7) to express FAAH. These FAAH-expressing COS-7 cells were able to break down AED efficiently, indicating that the intracellular AEA transport mechanism was already present and operation in these cells. The researchers identified these carriers as two separate FABPs.

Dr. Deutsch believes that because a transporter for the AEA class of neurotrasmitters had never been discovered until the Stony Brook findings, continued research may explain many unanswered questions about AEA. Future research may uncover more knowledge about AEA transport, as well as the entire role these neurotransmitters play in pain, inflammation, appetite control, addiction, and perhaps other physiological processes related to many human disorders.

The research was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Stony Brook University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Stony Brook University Medical Center. "Discovery Of Mechanism That Processes 'THC' Type Brain Compound May Lead To New Medicines For Pain, Addiction." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090325190342.htm>.
Stony Brook University Medical Center. (2009, March 31). Discovery Of Mechanism That Processes 'THC' Type Brain Compound May Lead To New Medicines For Pain, Addiction. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090325190342.htm
Stony Brook University Medical Center. "Discovery Of Mechanism That Processes 'THC' Type Brain Compound May Lead To New Medicines For Pain, Addiction." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090325190342.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) Yale researchers tested 135 men and women, and it was only obese women who were deemed to have "impaired associative learning." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Does Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks Boost Urge To Drink?

Does Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks Boost Urge To Drink?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) A new study suggests that mixing alcohol with energy drinks makes you want to keep the party going. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pot Cooking Class Teaches Responsible Eating

Pot Cooking Class Teaches Responsible Eating

AP (July 18, 2014) Following the nationwide trend of eased restrictions on marijuana use, pot edibles are growing in popularity. One Boston-area cooking class is teaching people how to eat pot responsibly. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Understanding D.C.'s New Pot Laws

Understanding D.C.'s New Pot Laws

Newsy (July 17, 2014) Washington D.C.'s new laws decriminalizing small amount of marijuana went into effect Thursday. Here's how they work. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins