Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 203425, 10 pages
Research Article

Oleoylethanolamide: A Novel Potential Pharmacological Alternative to Cannabinoid Antagonists for the Control of Appetite

1Department of Physiology and Pharmacology “V. Erspamer”, Sapienza University of Rome, Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Roma, Italy
2Institute of Cell Biology and Neurobiology (IBCN), Italian National Research Council (CNR), Via del Fosso di Fiorano, 64-00146 Roma, Italy
3Genomnia Srl, Via Nerviano 31, Lainate, 20020 Milano, Italy

Received 25 November 2013; Revised 18 February 2014; Accepted 5 March 2014; Published 3 April 2014

Academic Editor: Andrew J. McAinch

Copyright © 2014 Adele Romano et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The initial pharmaceutical interest for the endocannabinoid system as a target for antiobesity therapies has been restricted by the severe adverse effects of the CB1 antagonist rimonabant. This study points at oleoylethanolamide (OEA), a monounsaturated analogue, and functional antagonist of anandamide, as a potential and safer antiobesity alternative to CB1 antagonism. Mice treated with equal doses (5 or 10 mg/kg, i.p.) of OEA or rimonabant were analyzed for the progressive expression of spontaneous behaviors (eating, grooming, rearing, locomotion, and resting) occurring during the development of satiety, according to the paradigm called behavioral satiety sequence (BSS). Both drugs reduced food (wet mash) intake to a similar extent. OEA treatment decreased eating activity within the first 30 min and caused a temporary increase of resting time that was not accompanied by any decline of horizontal, vertical and total motor activity. Besides decreasing eating activity, rimonabant caused a marked increase of the time spent grooming and decreased horizontal motor activity, alterations that might be indicative of aversive nonmotivational effects on feeding. These results support the idea that OEA suppresses appetite by stimulating satiety and that its profile of action might be predictive of safer effects in humans as a novel antiobesity treatment.