Author(s): Muccioli GG, Stella N
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Abstract The endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol, as well as several anandamide-related N-acylethanolamines, belong to a family of lipid transmitter that regulate fundamental physiological processes, including neurotransmission and neuroinflammation. Their precise quantification in biological matrices can be achieved by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), but this method typically requires multiple time-consuming purification steps such as solid-phase extraction followed by HPLC. Here we report a novel solid-phase extraction procedure allowing for single-step, and thus higher throughput, purification of endocannabinoids and N-acylethanolamines before GC-MS quantification. We determined the minimal amount of mouse brain tissue required to reliably detect endocannabinoids and N-acylethanolamines when using this approach and provide direct evidence for quantification accuracy by using radioactive and deuterated standards spiked into mouse brain samples. Using this method, we found that mouse brain contains much higher levels of anandamide (>1 nmol/g tissue) than previously reported, whereas levels of 2-arachidonoylglycerol and other N-acylethanolamines are well within the range of previous reports. In addition, we show that mouse brain amounts of endocannabinoids and N-acylethanolamines differ depending on animal gender as well as on whether the tissue was fixed or not. Our study shows that endocannabinoid and N-acylethanolamine levels quantified in mouse brain by GC-MS depend closely on tissue amount and preparation as well as on animal gender and that, depending on such parameters, anandamide levels could be underestimated.
This article was published in Anal Biochem
and referenced in Pharmaceutica Analytica Acta