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J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2009 Mar;116(3):301-5. doi: 10.1007/s00702-008-0169-6. Epub 2009 Jan 10.

Sleep deprivation increases oleoylethanolamide in human cerebrospinal fluid.

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Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Cologne, 50924, Cologne, Germany.


This study investigated the role of two fatty acid ethanolamides, the endogenous cannabinoid anandamide and its structural analog oleoylethanolamide in sleep deprivation of human volunteers. Serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples were obtained from 20 healthy volunteers before and after a night of sleep deprivation with an interval of about 12 months. We found increased levels of oleoylethanolamide in CSF (P = 0.011) but not in serum (P = 0.068) after 24 h of sleep deprivation. Oleoylethanolamide is an endogenous lipid messenger that is released after neural injury and activates peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-alpha (PPAR-alpha) with nanomolar potency. Exogenous PPAR-alpha agonists, such as hypolipidemic fibrates and oleoylethanolamide, exert both neuroprotective and neurotrophic effects. Thus, our results suggest that oleoylethanolamide release may represent an endogenous neuroprotective signal during sleep deprivation.

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