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Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2002 Feb-Mar;66(2-3):333-41.

Endocannabinoids and the gut.

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Department of Experimental Pharmacology, University of Naples Federico II, via D. Montesano 49, 80131 Naples, Italy.

Erratum in

  • Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2002 Oct;67(4):275.


In the digestive tract, there is evidence for the presence of high amounts of endocannabinoids (anandamide and 2-arachidonylglycerol) and of mechanisms for endocannabinoid metabolism and possibly endocannabinoid uptake. Pharmacological studies have shown that anandamide inhibits excitatory transmission and peristalsis in the isolated guinea-pig ileum and reduces intestinal motility in the mouse in vivo; all these effects are mediated by CB(1) receptors, which are located on enteric nerves. Conversely, the selective CB(1) receptor antagonist SR141716A increased intestinal motility and this effect is likely due to the displacement of endocannabinoids rather than to its inverse agonist properties. Interestingly, inhibitory effects of anandamide via non-CB(1) receptors and stimulatory effects via vanilloid receptors have also been proposed.

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