Cocaine- and amphetamine-related transcript is involved in the orexigenic effect of endogenous anandamide

Douglas Osei-Hyiaman, Michael Depetrillo, Judith Harvey-White, Anthony W. Bannon, Benjamin F. Cravatt, Michael J. Kuhar, Ken Mackie, Miklós Palkovits, George Kunos

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96 Citations (Scopus)


Endocannabinoids acting at CB1 cannabinoid receptors (CB1) increase appetite. In view of the predominant presynaptic localization of CB1 in the brain, we tested the hypothesis that the orexigenic effect of endocannabinoids involves inhibition of the release of a tonically active anorexigenic mediator, such as the peptide product of the cocaine- and amphetamine-related transcript (CART). The CB1 antagonist rimonabant inhibited food intake in food-restricted wild-type mice, but not in their CART-deficient littermates. Mice deficient in fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), the enzyme responsible for the in vivo metabolism of the endocannabinoid anandamide, have reduced levels of CART-immunoreactive nerve fibers and terminals in several brain regions implicated in appetite control, including the arcuate, dorsomedial and periventricular nuclei of the hypothalamus, the amygdala, the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis and the nucleus accumbens, and treatment of FAAH-/- mice with rimonabant, 3 mg/kg/day for 7 days, increased CART levels toward those seen in FAAH+/+ wild-type controls. In contrast, no difference in the density of CART-immunoreactive fibers was observed in the median eminence and the paraventricular nucleus of FAAH+/+ and FAAH-/- mice. Acute treatment of wild-type mice with the cannabinoid agonist HU-210 resulted in elevated CART levels in the dorsomedial nucleus and the shell portion of the nucleus accumbens. These observations are compatible with CART being a downstream mediator of the CB1-mediated orexigenic effect of endogenous anandamide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-282
Number of pages10
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 10 2005


  • Amygdala
  • Arcuate nucleus
  • Cannabinoid receptors
  • Cocaine- and amphetamine-related transcript peptide
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Fatty acid amide hydrolase
  • Food intake behavior
  • Paraventricular nucleus
  • Periventricular hypothalamic area
  • Transgenic mice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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    Osei-Hyiaman, D., Depetrillo, M., Harvey-White, J., Bannon, A. W., Cravatt, B. F., Kuhar, M. J., Mackie, K., Palkovits, M., & Kunos, G. (2005). Cocaine- and amphetamine-related transcript is involved in the orexigenic effect of endogenous anandamide. Neuroendocrinology, 81(4), 273-282.