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Biochem J. 2000 Nov 1;351 Pt 3:817-24.

N-acyl-dopamines: novel synthetic CB(1) cannabinoid-receptor ligands and inhibitors of anandamide inactivation with cannabimimetic activity in vitro and in vivo.

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Istituto per la Chimica di Molecole di Interesse Biologico, C.N.R., Via Toiano 6, 80072 Arco Felice, Napoli, Italy.


We reported previously that synthetic amides of polyunsaturated fatty acids with bioactive amines can result in substances that interact with proteins of the endogenous cannabinoid system (ECS). Here we synthesized a series of N-acyl-dopamines (NADAs) and studied their effects on the anandamide membrane transporter, the anandamide amidohydrolase (fatty acid amide hydrolase, FAAH) and the two cannabinoid receptor subtypes, CB(1) and CB(2). NADAs competitively inhibited FAAH from N18TG2 cells (IC(50)=19-100 microM), as well as the binding of the selective CB(1) receptor ligand, [(3)H]SR141716A, to rat brain membranes (K(i)=250-3900 nM). The arachidonoyl (20:4 omega 6), eicosapentaenoyl (20:5 omega 3), docosapentaenoyl (22:5 omega 3), alpha-linolenoyl (18:3 omega 3) and pinolenoyl (5c,9c,12c 18:3 omega 6) homologues were also found to inhibit the anandamide membrane transporter in RBL-2H3 basophilic leukaemia and C6 glioma cells (IC(50)=17.5-33 microM). NADAs did not inhibit the binding of the CB(1)/CB(2) receptor ligand, [(3)H]WIN55,212-2, to rat spleen membranes (K(i)>10 microM). N-arachidonyl-dopamine (AA-DA) exhibited 40-fold selectivity for CB(1) (K(i)=250 nM) over CB(2) receptors, and N-docosapentaenoyl-dopamine exhibited 4-fold selectivity for the anandamide transporter over FAAH. AA-DA (0.1-10 microM) did not displace D1 and D2 dopamine-receptor high-affinity ligands from rat brain membranes, thus suggesting that this compound has little affinity for these receptors. AA-DA was more potent and efficacious than anandamide as a CB(1) agonist, as assessed by measuring the stimulatory effect on intracellular Ca(2+) mobilization in undifferentiated N18TG2 neuroblastoma cells. This effect of AA-DA was counteracted by the CB(1) antagonist SR141716A. AA-DA behaved as a CB(1) agonist in vivo by inducing hypothermia, hypo-locomotion, catalepsy and analgesia in mice (1-10 mg/kg). Finally, AA-DA potently inhibited (IC(50)=0.25 microM) the proliferation of human breast MCF-7 cancer cells, thus behaving like other CB(1) agonists. Also this effect was counteracted by SR141716A but not by the D2 antagonist haloperidol. We conclude that NADAs, and AA-DA in particular, may be novel and useful probes for the study of the ECS.

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