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, 1345 (3), 338-48

Occurrence and Metabolism of Anandamide and Related Acyl-Ethanolamides in Ovaries of the Sea Urchin Paracentrotus Lividus


Occurrence and Metabolism of Anandamide and Related Acyl-Ethanolamides in Ovaries of the Sea Urchin Paracentrotus Lividus

T Bisogno et al. Biochim Biophys Acta.


Cannabinoid receptors have been described in sea urchin sperm and shown to mediate inhibition of sperm acrosome reaction. Anandamide (arachidonoyl-ethanolamide), the mammalian physiological ligand at the cannabinoid CB1 receptor, has been subsequently found to effect this inhibition. Here we present data showing that ovaries from the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus contain anandamide and two related acyl-ethanolamides, as well as enzymatic activities potentially responsible for their biosynthesis and degradation. Pilot experiments carried out with either ovaries or spermatozoa, extracted from both P. lividus and Arbacea lixula and radiolabelled with [14C]ethanolamine, showed that in sexually mature ovaries of both species significant levels of radioactivity were incorporated into a lipid component with the same chromatographic behaviour as anandamide. Lipid extracts from P. lividus ovaries were purified and analysed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry which showed the presence of low but measurable amounts of anandamide, palmitoyl- and stearoyl-ethanolamides. The extracts were also found to contain lipid components with the same chromatographic behaviour as the N-acyl-phosphatidyl-ethanolamines, the phospholipid precursors of acyl-ethanolamides in mammalian tissues, and capable of releasing anandamide, palmitoyl- and stearoyl-ethanolamides upon digestion with S. chromofuscus phospholipase D. Accordingly, whole homogenates from P. lividus contained an enzymatic activity capable of converting synthetic [3H]N-arachidonoyl-phosphatidyl-ethanolamine into [3H]anandamide. Finally, mature ovaries of P. lividus were shown also to contain an amidohydrolase activity which catalyses the hydrolysis of anandamide and palmitoyl-ethanolamide to ethanolamine. This enzyme displayed subcellular distribution, pH/temperature dependency profiles and sensitivity to inhibitors similar but not identical to those of the previously described 'anandamide amidohydrolase' from mammalian tissues. These data support the hypothesis, formulated in previous studies, that anandamide or related metabolites may be oocyte-derived cannabimimetic regulators of sea urchin fertility.

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