Role of PUFAs, the precursors of endocannabinoids, in human obesity and type 2 diabetes

Front Biosci (Elite Ed). 2010 Jun 1;2:1432-47. doi: 10.2741/e203.


Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) serve as precursors of the endocannabinoids (ECs) that are bioactive lipids molecules. Recent studies revealed that ECs participate in several physiological and pathological processes including obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Here we review the experimental and clinical aspects of the role of endocannabinoids in obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus and the modification of the endocannabinoids by exogenously administered PUFAs. Based on these evidences, we propose that the endocannabinoid system (ECS) can be modulated by exogenous manipulation of PUFAs that could help in the prevention and management of human diseases such as obesity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cannabinoid Receptor Modulators / physiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology*
  • Endocannabinoids*
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / physiopathology
  • Obesity / physiopathology*


  • Cannabinoid Receptor Modulators
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated