The anandamide membrane transporter inhibitor, VDM-11, modulates sleep and c-Fos expression in the rat brain

Neuroscience. 2008 Nov 11;157(1):1-11. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2008.08.056. Epub 2008 Sep 4.


Endogenous cannabinoids or endocannabinoids are lipid molecules that have a variety of biological actions, most notably via activation of the cannabinoid receptors. The family of endocannabinoids includes arachidonoylethanolamide (ANA) which modulates different behaviors, such as sleep. However, it is unknown whether pharmacological elevation of ANA endogenous levels might induce sleep. VDM 11 [(5 Z,8 Z,11 Z,14 Z)-N-(4-hydroxy-2-methylphenyl)-5,8,11,14-eicosatetraenamide] is commonly used as an inhibitor of ANA cellular uptake, and thereby to potentiate its actions. In this study we have examined whether VDM-11 exerts any effect on the sleep-wake cycle and c-Fos expression in brain areas. When assayed alone in rats, VDM-11 (10 or 20 microg/5 microL, i.c.v.) at the beginning of the lights-off period, reduced wakefulness and increased sleep. The CB(1) cannabinoid receptor antagonist, SR141716A, partially reversed the effects of VDM-11 on sleep. Additionally, VDM-11 enhanced c-Fos expression in sleep-related brain areas such as the anterior hypothalamic area, paraventricular thalamic nucleus, and pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus. It is concluded that VDM-11 displays sleep-inducing properties and these effects slightly, albeit significantly, are reversed using SR141716A. Furthermore, c-Fos data suggest a possible underlying neuroanatomical substrate of the sleep-inducing properties of VDM-11. We report evidence suggesting that VDM-11 might be considered for the development of new pharmacological and pharmaceutical approaches to treat sleep disorders such as insomnia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arachidonic Acids / administration & dosage
  • Arachidonic Acids / pharmacology*
  • Brain Chemistry / drug effects*
  • Brain Chemistry / genetics*
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Antagonists
  • Electroencephalography / drug effects
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects*
  • Genes, fos / genetics*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Injections, Intraventricular
  • Male
  • Piperidines / pharmacology
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides / pharmacology*
  • Pyrazoles / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1 / drug effects
  • Rimonabant
  • Sleep / drug effects*
  • Sleep Stages / drug effects


  • Arachidonic Acids
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Antagonists
  • Endocannabinoids
  • N-(2-methyl-3-hydroxyphenyl)-5,8,11,14-eicosatetraenamide
  • Piperidines
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides
  • Pyrazoles
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1
  • Rimonabant
  • anandamide