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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2018 Aug 1;315(2):E141-E149. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00406.2017. Epub 2018 Apr 10.

Plasma fatty acid ethanolamides are associated with postprandial triglycerides, ApoCIII, and ApoE in humans consuming a high-fructose corn syrup-sweetened beverage.

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Department of Molecular Biosciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, Davis, California.
Division of Biomedical Sciences, School of Medicine, University of California, Riverside, Riverside, California.
Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis, Davis, California.
Department of Nutrition, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, Davis, California.
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Western Human Nutrition Research Center , Davis, California.


Epidemiological and clinical research studies have provided ample evidence demonstrating that consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages increases risk factors involved in the development of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Our previous study demonstrated that when compared with aspartame (Asp), 2 wk of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)-sweetened beverages provided at 25% of daily energy requirement was associated with increased body weight, postprandial (pp) triglycerides (TG), and fasting and pp CVD risk factors in young adults. The fatty acid ethanolamide, anandamide (AEA), and the monoacylglycerol, 2-arachidonoyl- sn-glycerol (2-AG), are two primary endocannabinoids (ECs) that play a role in regulating food intake, increasing adipose storage, and regulating lipid metabolism. Therefore, we measured plasma concentrations of ECs and their analogs, oleoylethanolamide (OEA), docosahexaenoyl ethanolamide (DHEA), and docosahexaenoyl glycerol (DHG), in participants from our previous study who consumed HFCS- or Asp-sweetened beverages to determine associations with weight gain and CVD risk factors. Two-week exposure to either HFCS- or Asp-sweetened beverages resulted in significant differences in the changes in fasting levels of OEA and DHEA between groups after the testing period. Subjects who consumed Asp, but not HFCS, displayed a reduction in AEA, OEA, and DHEA after the testing period. In contrast, there were significant positive relationships between AEA, OEA, and DHEA vs. ppTG, ppApoCIII, and ppApoE in those consuming HFCS, but not in those consuming Asp. Our findings reveal previously unknown associations between circulating ECs and EC-related molecules with markers of lipid metabolism and CVD risk after HFCS consumption.


ApoCIII; ApoE; anandamide; high-fructose corn syrup; oleoylethanolamide; triglycerides

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