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Current Neuropharmacology


ISSN (Print): 1570-159X
ISSN (Online): 1875-6190

Inhibitors of Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase and Monoacylglycerol Lipase: New Targets for Future Antidepressants

Author(s): Shintaro Ogawa and Hiroshi Kunugi

Volume 13 , Issue 6 , 2015

Page: [760 - 775] Pages: 16

DOI: 10.2174/1570159X13666150612225212

Price: $65


Cannabis and analogs of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol have been used for therapeutic purposes, but their therapeutic use remains limited because of various adverse effects. Endogenous cannabinoids have been discovered, and dysregulation of endocannabinoid signaling is implicated in the pathophysiology of major depressive disorder (MDD). Recently, endocannabinoid hydrolytic enzymes such as fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) have become new therapeutic targets in the treatment of MDD. Several FAAH or MAGL inhibitors are reported to have no cannabimimetic side effects and, therefore, are new potential therapeutic options for patients with MDD who are resistant to first-line antidepressants (selective serotonin and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors). In this review, we focus on the possible relationships between MDD and the endocannabinoid system as well as the inhibitors’ therapeutic potential. MAGL inhibitors may reduce inflammatory responses through activation of cannabinoid receptor type 2. In the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis, repeated FAAH inhibitor administration may be beneficial for reducing circulating glucocorticoid levels. Both FAAH and MAGL inhibitors may contribute to dopaminergic system regulation. Recently, several new inhibitors have been developed with strong potency and selectivity. FAAH inhibitor, MAGL inhibitor, or dual blocker use would be promising new treatments for MDD. Further pre-clinical studies and clinical trials using these inhibitors are warranted.

Keywords: Antidepressants, Chronic inflammation, Dopamine, Endocannabinoids, Fatty acid amide hydrolase, Hypothalamic– pituitary–adrenal axis, Major depressive disorder, Monoacylglycerol lipas.

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