Comparison of the enzymatic stability and intraocular pressure effects of 2-arachidonylglycerol and noladin ether, a novel putative endocannabinoid

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2002 Oct;43(10):3216-22.


Purpose: The endogenous cannabinoids N-arachidonylethanolamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonylglycerol (2-AG) are known to decrease intraocular pressure (IOP). Recently, a novel putative endogenous cannabinoid, noladin ether, was isolated in porcine and rat brains. In the present study, both the degradation of endogenous cannabinoids in ocular tissues and the effect on IOP of 2-AG and noladin ether were compared.

Methods: The rates of enzymatic degradation for AEA, 2-AG, and noladin ether were determined in bovine cornea and iris-ciliary body homogenates. 2-AG and noladin ether were dissolved in either hydroxypropyl-beta-cyclodextrin (HP-beta-CD) or propylene glycol and administered unilaterally to the rabbit eye. IOPs were measured in the treated and untreated eyes. The CB1 receptor antagonist AM251 was administered topically 15 minutes before the cannabinoids to investigate whether CB1 receptors mediate the effect on IOP produced by 2-AG and noladin ether.

Results: Noladin ether degraded more slowly than either 2-AG or AEA in the iris-ciliary body and cornea homogenates. The effect on IOP of 2-AG was biphasic (i.e., an initial increase in IOP followed by a reduction in the treated eye). Noladin ether decreased IOP immediately after topical administration, and no initial IOP increase was observed in the treated eye. The CB1 receptor antagonist AM251 (25 micro g) blocked the effect on IOP of noladin ether but did not affect the action of 2-AG.

Conclusions: Topical administration of the novel putative endogenous cannabinoid noladin ether decreased IOP in rabbits. This IOP reduction was most probably mediated through the CB1 receptor. The effect on IOP of noladin ether differed from those of the known endogenous cannabinoids AEA and 2-AG, probably because of its more stable chemical structure.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arachidonic Acids / metabolism
  • Arachidonic Acids / pharmacology
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Modulators
  • Cattle
  • Ciliary Body / drug effects
  • Ciliary Body / metabolism
  • Cornea / drug effects
  • Cornea / metabolism
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Enzyme Stability
  • Female
  • Glycerides / metabolism
  • Glycerides / pharmacology*
  • Intraocular Pressure / drug effects*
  • Iris / drug effects
  • Iris / metabolism
  • Male
  • Piperidines / pharmacology
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides
  • Pyrazoles / pharmacology
  • Rabbits
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid
  • Receptors, Drug / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, Drug / physiology


  • Arachidonic Acids
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Modulators
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Glycerides
  • Piperidines
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides
  • Pyrazoles
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid
  • Receptors, Drug
  • noladin ether
  • AM 251
  • glyceryl 2-arachidonate
  • anandamide