2-Arachidonoylglycerol: A signaling lipid with manifold actions in the brain

Prog Lipid Res. 2018 Jul:71:1-17. doi: 10.1016/j.plipres.2018.05.002. Epub 2018 May 8.


2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) is a signaling lipid in the central nervous system that is a key regulator of neurotransmitter release. 2-AG is an endocannabinoid that activates the cannabinoid CB1 receptor. It is involved in a wide array of (patho)physiological functions, such as emotion, cognition, energy balance, pain sensation and neuroinflammation. In this review, we describe the biosynthetic and metabolic pathways of 2-AG and how chemical and genetic perturbation of these pathways has led to insight in the biological role of this signaling lipid. Finally, we discuss the potential therapeutic benefits of modulating 2-AG levels in the brain.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arachidonic Acids / chemical synthesis
  • Arachidonic Acids / chemistry
  • Arachidonic Acids / metabolism*
  • Biosynthetic Pathways
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Endocannabinoids / chemical synthesis
  • Endocannabinoids / chemistry
  • Endocannabinoids / metabolism*
  • Glycerides / chemical synthesis
  • Glycerides / chemistry
  • Glycerides / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Models, Chemical
  • Molecular Structure
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1 / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Arachidonic Acids
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Glycerides
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1
  • glyceryl 2-arachidonate