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J Neurochem. 2004 Jun;89(6):1555-7.

Endocannabinoids accumulate in spinal cord of SOD1 G93A transgenic mice.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.


Approximately 2% of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) cases are caused by mutations in the super oxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) gene and transgenic mice for these mutations recapitulate many features of this devastating neurodegenerative disease. Here we show that the amount of anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), two endocannabinoids that have neuroprotective properties, increase in spinal cord of SOD1(G93A) transgenic mice. This increase occurs in the lumbar section of spinal cords, the first section to undergo neurodegeneration, and is significant before overt motor impairment. Our results show that chronic neurodegeneration induced by a genetic mutation increases endocannabinoid production possibly as part of an endogenous defense mechanism.

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