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Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2006 Dec;75(6):413-8. Epub 2006 Oct 2.

Changes in endocannabinoid and palmitoylethanolamide levels in eye tissues of patients with diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration.

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Endocannabinoid Research Group, Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Via Toiano 6, 80072 Arco Felice, Pozzuoli (Napoli), Italy.


Cannabinoid receptors and the endocannabinoids (anandamide (N-arachidonoylethanolamine--AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG)), as well as the AEA congener, palmitoylethanolamide (PEA), are involved in ocular physiology. We measured endocannabinoid and PEA levels by isotope-dilution liquid chromatography-mass spectrometric analysis in post-mortem eye tissues of patients with diabetic retinopathy (DR) or age-related macular degeneration (AMD). In eyes with DR, significantly enhanced levels of AEA were found in the retina ( approximately 1.8-fold), ciliary body ( approximately 1.5-fold) and, to a lesser extent, cornea ( approximately 1.3-fold). Surprisingly, 2-AG levels were significantly higher ( approximately 3-fold) only in the iris, whereas PEA levels only slightly increased ( approximately 1.3-fold) in the ciliary body. In eyes with AMD, significantly enhanced levels of AEA were found in the choroid ( approximately 1.3-fold), ciliary body ( approximately 1.4-fold) and cornea ( approximately 1.4-fold), whereas in the retina only a trend towards an increase ( approximately 1.5-fold) was observed. The tissue- and disease-selective nature of the changes observed suggests that the compounds analyzed here may play different roles in the control of eye function under different pathological conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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