Author(s): Martins CJ, Genelhu V, Di Marzo V, Francischetti EA
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Abstract This review examines the impact of the endocannabinoid signaling system on metabolic and cardiovascular health and the new therapeutic strategies that selectively target dysfunctional endocannabinoid action in peripheral tissues, without causing the undesirable central nervous system effects that occurred with the first-generation of CB1 receptor blockers. We first review the components of the endocannabinoid system and the enzymes that synthesize and degrade the endocannabinoids, the critical role of the system in the homeostasis of energy balance, and its hedonic aspects related to the incentive and motivational value of food. Second, we describe the central and peripheral actions of the endocannabinoid system and its interactions with other biological modulators, such as ghrelin and leptin. Third, we summarize data from human clinical trials with the CB1 inverse agonist rimonabant, showing that the drug, although effective in increasing weight loss with accompanying improvements in the metabolic profile of the participants in the RIO (Rimonabant In Obesity) trials, was withdrawn from the market because of the risk of serious adverse events. Finally, we describe: 1) the development of new selective peripheral blockers that interrupt endocannabinoid action selectively in peripheral tissues and that have been suggested as an alternative approach to treat the metabolic consequences of obesity and related diseases, without undesirable central nervous system effects, and 2) the potential for inhibition of enzymes of synthesis, as well as the possible role of endocannabinoid congeners, with opposing effects as compared to CB1 receptor agonists, in the control of metabolic disorders. © Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.
This article was published in Horm Metab Res
and referenced in Pharmaceutica Analytica Acta