CORDIS - EU research results

Neurocircuitry of endocannabinoid regulation of food intake

Final Report Summary - ENDOFOOD (Neurocircuitry of endocannabinoid regulation of food intake)

The ECS, formed by cannabinoid receptors, their endogenous ligands (endocannabinoids) and the machinery for synthesis and degradation of endocannabinoids is an important modulatory system in the CNS. The cannabinoid type-1 receptor (CB1) is one of the most abundant G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) in the brain, explaining the involvement of the ECS in most brain functions.
In these years, we provided major contributions to the field. Some of my papers are considered seminal studies and inspired the work of many other scientists in different fields of neuroscience. This has been obtained through the combined development of advanced genetic tools and the exploration of unconventional hypotheses that have allowed us describing the mechanisms of many phenomena that are now accepted physiological functions of the ECS.
Importantly, the most recent work of my group has contributed to a better understanding of brain physiology beyond the mere study of the ECS. In this sense, our “bottom-up” approach focusing on the functions of the cannabinoid receptor CB1 prompted us addressing new exciting aspects of brain mechanisms, such as the interplay between astrocytes and neurons, brain bioenergetics processes and the endogenous signal-specific allosteric modulation of GPCRs.
In particular, we recently identified and developed a new pharmacological class of stable signal-specific inhibitors of CB1 receptors. To translate this discovery into human health improvement, I co-founded a new biotech company (Aelis Farma), which allowed the entering of this new class of drugs into clinical development against cannabis addiction and other diseases involving excessive CB1 receptor activation.
The capacity to identify the interesting and original directions of the research in the field and to find the most appropriate experimental approaches to follow them are our principal advantages as compared to our competitors and have allowed us developing over the years several fruitful collaborations.