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Cardiovascular disease


Fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH)

Mouse studies suggest inhibiting anandamide signaling through FAAH could help treat or prevent pulmonary hypertension. In isolated, perfused lungs from mice, the endocannabinoid anandamide increased pulmonary vascular tone compared with vehicle. In mice, increased hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension was associated with increased levels of anandamide and Faah-dependent anandamide metabolites in the lung. Also in mice, Faah knockout or a FAAH antagonist prevented hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension. Next steps could include evaluating additional FAAH antagonists in animal models of pulmonary hypertension.
Vernalis plc has V158866, a small molecule inhibitor of FAAH, in Phase II trials to treat pain.

SciBX 6(46); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.1319
Published online Dec. 5, 2013

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Wenzel, D. et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA; published online Oct. 28, 2013;
Contact: Bernd K. Fleischmann, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany