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Pharmacol Ther. 2007 Apr;114(1):13-33. Epub 2007 Feb 2.

Biochemistry and pharmacology of endovanilloids.

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  • 1Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry, Endocannabinoid Research Group, C.N.R., Pozzuoli, Naples, Italy.


Endovanilloids are defined as endogenous ligands and activators of transient receptor potential (TRP) vanilloid type 1 (TRPV1) channels. The first endovanilloid to be identified was anandamide (AEA), previously discovered as an endogenous agonist of cannabinoid receptors. In fact, there are several similarities, in terms of opposing actions on the same intracellular signals, role in the same pathological conditions, and shared ligands and tissue distribution, between TRPV1 and cannabinoid CB(1) receptors. After AEA and some of its congeners (the unsaturated long chain N-acylethanolamines), at least 2 other families of endogenous lipids have been suggested to act as endovanilloids: (i) unsaturated long chain N-acyldopamines and (ii) some lipoxygenase (LOX) metabolites of arachidonic acid (AA). Here we discuss the mechanisms for the regulation of the levels of the proposed endovanilloids, as well as their TRPV1-mediated pharmacological actions in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, we outline the possible pathological conditions in which endovanilloids, acting at sometimes aberrantly expressed TRPV1 receptors, might play a role.

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