Progress in lipid research

Biochemistry, pharmacology and physiology of 2-arachidonoylglycerol, an endogenous cannabinoid receptor ligand.

PMID 16678907


2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) is a unique molecular species of monoacylglycerol isolated in 1995 from rat brain and canine gut as an endogenous ligand for the cannabinoid receptors. 2-AG is rapidly formed from arachidonic acid-containing phospholipids through increased phospholipid metabolism, such as enhanced inositol phospholipid turnover, in various tissues and cells upon stimulation. 2-AG binds to the cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) and exhibits a variety of cannabimimetic activities in vitro and in vivo. Notably, anandamide, another endogenous ligand for the cannabinoid receptors, often acts as a partial agonist at these cannabinoid receptors, whereas 2-AG acts as a full agonist in most cases. The results of structure-activity relationship studies suggested that 2-AG rather than anandamide is the true natural ligand for both the CB1 and the CB2 receptors. Evidence is gradually accumulating which shows that 2-AG plays physiologically essential roles in diverse biological systems. For example, several lines of evidence indicate that 2-AG plays an important role as a retrograde messenger molecule in the regulation of synaptic transmission. 2-AG has also been shown to be involved in the regulation of various types of inflammatory reactions and immune responses. In this review, we focused on 2-AG, and summarized information concerning its biosynthesis, metabolism, bioactions and physiological significance, including our latest experimental results.

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2-Arachidonyl glycerol, ~10 mg/mL, ≥98% (HPLC)