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Neurosci Lett. 2007 Jun 29;421(3):270-4. Epub 2007 Jun 2.

Short-term exposure to alcohol in rats affects brain levels of anandamide, other N-acylethanolamines and 2-arachidonoyl-glycerol.

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Departamento de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Complutense, 28040 Madrid, Spain.


Chronic alcohol exposure leads to significant changes in the levels of endocannabinoids and their receptors in the brains of humans and laboratory animals, as well as in cultured neuronal cells. However, little is known about the effects of short-term periods of alcohol exposure. In the present study, we examined the changes in endocannabinoid levels (anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol), as well as four additional N-acylethanolamines, in four brain regions of rats exposed to alcohol through the liquid diet for a period of 24h. The levels of N-acylethanolamines were diminished 24h after the onset of alcohol exposure. This was particularly evident for anandamide in the hypothalamus, amygdala and caudate-putamen, for N-palmitoylethanolamine in the caudate-putamen, for N-oleoylethanolamine in the hypothalamus, caudate-putamen and prefrontal cortex, and for N-stearoylethanolamine in the amygdala. The only exception was N-linoleoylethanolamine for which the levels increased in the amygdala after the exposure to alcohol. The levels of the other major endocannabinoid, 2-arachidonoylglycerol, were also reduced with marked effects in the prefrontal cortex. These results support the notion that short-term alcohol exposure reduces endocannabinoid levels in the brain accompanied by a reduction in several related N-acylethanolamines.

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