Journal of Molecular Medicine

, Volume 86, Issue 4, pp 413–422 | Cite as

Inhibitory effect of the anorexic compound oleoylethanolamide on gastric emptying in control and overweight mice

  • Gabriella Aviello
  • Isabel Matias
  • Raffaele Capasso
  • Stefania Petrosino
  • Francesca Borrelli
  • Pierangelo Orlando
  • Barbara Romano
  • Francesco Capasso
  • Vincenzo Di Marzo
  • Angelo A. Izzo
Original Article


Gastric emptying regulates food intake. Oleoylethanolamide (OEA), an endogenous acylethanolamide chemically related to the endocannabinoid anandamide, inhibits food intake, but its effect on gastric emptying is unknown. Here, we investigated the effect and the role of OEA on gastric emptying in mice fed either a standard (STD) or a high-fat diet (HFD) for 14 weeks. Gastric emptying was reduced by OEA, but not by its saturated analog, palmitoylethanolamide. The effect of OEA was unaffected by rimonabant (cannabinoid CB1 receptor antagonist), SR144528 (cannabinoid CB2 receptor antagonist), 5′-iodoresiniferatoxin (transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 antagonist), or MK886 (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-α) antagonist. Compared to STD mice, HFD mice showed delayed gastric emptying and higher levels of gastric OEA. HFD-induced increase in OEA levels was accompanied by increased expression of the OEA-synthesizing enzyme N-acyl-phosphatidylethanolamine-selective phospholipase D and decreased expression of the OEA-degrading enzyme fatty acid amide hydrolase. These results might suggest that elevation of gastric OEA could possibly contribute to the delayed gastric emptying observed in HFD-fed animals. HFD regulates OEA levels in the stomach through an increase of its biosynthesis and a decrease of its enzymatic degradation. The inhibitory effect of OEA on gastric emptying here observed might underlie part of the anorexic effects of this compound previously reported.


Cannabinoid receptors Endocannabinoids Gastric motility Obesity Oleoylethanolamide Fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) 









Fatty acid amide hydrolase


High-fat diet






N-acyl-phosphatidylethanolamine-selective phospholipase D




Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor


Reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction


Transient receptor potential vanilloid type-1


Standard diet



This work was supported by Prin, Regione Campania, “Fondazione Enrico ed Enrica Sovena,” Epitech, S.r.l. (to SP and VDM), and Sanofi-Aventis (to VDM).

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gabriella Aviello
    • 1
  • Isabel Matias
    • 2
  • Raffaele Capasso
    • 1
  • Stefania Petrosino
    • 2
    • 3
  • Francesca Borrelli
    • 1
  • Pierangelo Orlando
    • 4
  • Barbara Romano
    • 1
  • Francesco Capasso
    • 1
  • Vincenzo Di Marzo
    • 2
  • Angelo A. Izzo
    • 1
  1. 1.Endocannabinoid Research Group, Department of Experimental PharmacologyUniversity of Naples Federico IINaplesItaly
  2. 2.Endocannabinoid Research Group, Institute of Biomolecular ChemistryNational Research CouncilPozzuoliItaly
  3. 3.Endocannabinoid Research Group, Department of Pharmaceutical SciencesUniversity of SalernoFiscianoItaly
  4. 4.Endocannabinoid Research Group, Institute of Protein BiochemistryNational Research CouncilNaplesItaly

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