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Anandamide and its metabolites: what are their roles in the kidney?
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Academic Editor: Pin-Lan Li
Anandamide (AEA) is the N-acyl ethanolamide of arachidonic acid, an agonist of cannabinoid and non-cannabinoid receptors in the body. The kidneys are enriched in AEA and in enzymes that metabolize AEA, but the roles of AEA and its metabolites in the kidney remain poorly understood. This system likely is involved in the regulation of renal blood flow and hemodynamics and of tubular sodium and fluid reabsorption. It may act as a neuromodulator of the renal sympathetic nervous system. AEA and its cyclooxygenase-2 metabolites, the prostamides, in the renal medulla may represent a unique antihypertensive system involved in the long-term control of blood pressure. AEA and its metabolites are also implicated as modulators of inflammation and mediators of signaling in inflammation. AEA and its metabolites may be influential in chronic kidney disease states associated with inflammation and cardiovascular diseases associated with hyperhomocysteinemia. The current knowledge of the roles of AEA and its derivatives highlights the need for further research to define and potentially exploit the role of this endocannabinoid system in the kidney.