Plasma N-acylethanolamine and endocannabinoid levels in burning mouth syndrome: Potential role in disease pathogenesis

J Oral Pathol Med. 2018 Apr;47(4):440-442. doi: 10.1111/jop.12692. Epub 2018 Mar 2.


Objective: The objective was to measure endocannabinoid (eCB) ligands and non-cannabinoid N-acylethanolamine (NAE) molecules in plasma from individuals with burning mouth syndrome (BMS) and to determine whether plasma eCB/NAE levels correlated with pain, inflammation and depressive symptomatology in this cohort.

Study design: Plasma content of the eCBs, anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoyl-glycerol (2-AG), and the NAE molecules, palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) and oleoylethanolamide (OEA) were assessed in healthy subjects (n = 8) and in a cohort of newly diagnosed BMS patients (n = 9) using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Plasma eCBs and NAE profiles were correlated with self-rated oral cavity pain intensities, depressive symptomatology and plasma IL-8 levels.

Results: Plasma levels of PEA, but not OEA, AEA or 2-AG, were significantly elevated in patients with BMS, when compared to plasma from healthy individuals. Plasma PEA, OEA and AEA levels correlated with depressive symptomatology.

Conclusions: This is the first evidence to indicate that circulating eCB/NAE levels are altered in BMS.

Keywords: N-acylethanolamines; burning mouth syndrome; depression; endocannabinoids; neuropathic orofacial pain.

MeSH terms

  • Burning Mouth Syndrome / blood*
  • Burning Mouth Syndrome / etiology
  • Endocannabinoids / blood*
  • Ethanolamines / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged


  • Endocannabinoids
  • Ethanolamines
  • N-acylethanolamines