[Frontiers in Bioscience E2, 1432-1447, June 1, 2010]

Role of PUFA, the precursors of endocannabinoids, in human obesity and type 2 diabetes

Alejandro Dain1, Gaston Repossi1, 2, Undurti Das3, Aldo Renato Eynard1, 2

1Instituto de Biologia Celular y I Catedra de Biologia Celular, Histologia y Embriologia, Facultad de Ciencias Medicas, Universidad Nacional de Cordoba, Ciudad Universitaria, Barros esquina Gordillo, Cordoba (5000), Argentina, 2CONICET, Argentina, 3Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Kakinada-533 003, India


1. Abstract
2. Introduction: the endocannabinoid system, an overview
3. The endocannabinoids and energy balance
3.1. The endocannabinoid system and central control of energy balance
3.2. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis
3.3. Gut-brain interactions
3.4. Actions of ecs and ecs on adipose tissue, pancreas and liver
3.4.1. Role of the ECS in the adipose tissue
3.4.2. Role of the ECS in the endocrine pancreas
4. Endocannabinoid system in obesity
4.1. Activation of peripheral endocannabinoid system and obesity
4.2. Adipose tissue source of EC and related hormones
4.3. The link between insulin resistance and ECS and free fatty acids
4.4. Adiponectin, obesity and insulin resistance
4.5. Pro-inflammatory cytokines and adipose tissue
4.6. Leptin-regulated EC and food intake
5. The ECS in hyperglycemia and diabetes
6. Clinical and experimental manipulations of the ECS
7. Modulation of PUFAs and their effects on the ECS
8. Perspective and conclusions
9. Acknowledgements
10. References


Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) serve as precursors of the endocannabinoids (ECs) that are bioactive lipids molecules. Recent studies revealed that ECs participate in several physiological and pathological processes including obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Here we review the experimental and clinical aspects of the role of endocannabinoids in obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus and the modification of the endocannabinoids by exogenously administered PUFAs. Based on these evidences, we propose that the endocannabinoid system (ECS) can be modulated by exogenous manipulation of PUFAs that could help in the prevention and management of human diseases such as obesity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes mellitus.