Immunohistochemical localization of anabolic and catabolic enzymes for anandamide and other putative endovanilloids in the hippocampus and cerebellar cortex of the mouse brain

Neuroscience. 2008 Feb 19;151(4):955-68. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2007.11.047. Epub 2007 Dec 8.


An increasing body of evidence indicates that: 1) the endocannabinoid anandamide (AEA) and other unsaturated N-acylethanolamines (NAEs), 2) 12-(S)-lipoxygenase (12-LOX) products of arachidonic acid, and 3) unsaturated N-acyldopamines (NADAs), act as endogenous ligands of transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 (TRPV1) channels at intracellular binding sites. AEA is synthesized and released "on demand" in neurons from its membrane precursor, N-arachidonoyl-phosphatidylethanolamine, by an N-acyl-phosphatidylethanolamine-specific phospholipase D (NAPE-PLD), and is inactivated by intracellular hydrolysis by fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), whereas catechol-O-methyl-transferase (COMT) was suggested to inactivate NADAs. However, it is not known whether these enzymes or 12-LOX co-localize to any extent with TRPV1 receptors in the brain. In this study we used immunohistochemical techniques (single peroxidase and double immunofluorescence staining), and analyzed the localization of the TRPV1 channel in mouse hippocampal and cerebellar neurons with respect to NAPE-PLD, FAAH, 12-LOX and COMT. Cycloxygenase-2 (COX-2), another putative AEA-degrading enzyme, was also studied. Co-localization between TRPV1 and either NAPE-PLD or FAAH, COX-2, 12-LOX and COMT was found in Ammon's horn (CA3) hippocampal pyramidal neurons and (with the exception of 12-LOX) in some Purkinje cells. At the cellular level, both anabolic and catabolic enzymes appeared as fine grains with immunoperoxidase labeling and were observed in the somatodendritic compartment of CA3 pyramidal cells as well as (with the exception of 12-LOX) in the cytoplasm of Purkinje neurons, in which FAAH and COX-2 immunoreactivities were, however, preferentially localized in the large extension of the dendritic arbor. Our data agree with the hypothesis that, in potential "endovanillergic" neurons, endogenous TRPV1 agonists, and AEA in particular, act as intracellular mediators by being produced from and/or degraded by the same mouse brain cells that express TRPV1 receptors.

MeSH terms

  • Amidohydrolases / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Arachidonate 12-Lipoxygenase / metabolism*
  • Catechol O-Methyltransferase / metabolism
  • Cerebellar Cortex / cytology
  • Cerebellar Cortex / enzymology*
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 / metabolism
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Hippocampus / enzymology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Neurons / classification
  • Neurons / enzymology
  • Phospholipase D / metabolism*
  • TRPV Cation Channels / metabolism


  • TRPV Cation Channels
  • TRPV1 protein, mouse
  • Arachidonate 12-Lipoxygenase
  • Ptgs2 protein, mouse
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Catechol O-Methyltransferase
  • N-acylphosphatidylethanolamine phospholipase D, mouse
  • Phospholipase D
  • Amidohydrolases
  • fatty-acid amide hydrolase
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase
  • glutamate decarboxylase 1