Endocannabinoid signalling in Alzheimer's disease

Biochem Soc Trans. 2013 Dec;41(6):1583-7. doi: 10.1042/BST20130140.


The ECs (endocannabinoids) AEA (anandamide) and 2-AG (2-arachidonoylglycerol) and their lipid congeners OEA (N-oleoylethanolamide) and PEA (N-palmitoylethanolamide) are multifunctional lipophilic signalling molecules. The ECs, OEA and PEA have multiple physiological roles including involvement in learning and memory, neuroinflammation, oxidative stress, neuroprotection and neurogenesis. They have also been implicated in the pathology of, or perhaps protective responses to, neurodegenerative diseases. This is particularly the case with Alzheimer's disease, the most common age-related dementia associated with impairments in learning and memory accompanied by neuroinflammation, oxidative stress and neurodegeneration. The present mini-review examines the evidence supporting the roles that ECs appear to play in Alzheimer's disease and the potential for beneficial therapeutic manipulation of the EC signalling system.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cannabinoids / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Cannabinoids