Research Unit 926 "Physiology and Pathophysiology of the Endocannabinoid System"

Endocannabinoids (ECs) are synthesized from membrane lipid precursors. Initiation of biosynthesis is triggered by specific signals, e.g. a rise in intracellular Ca2+ or the activation of metabotropic glutamate receptors. Thus, EC synthesis is "on-demand", but synthesis may also occur at basal conditions. In order to evaluate the activity status of the ECS in physiological and pathophysiological conditions, the determination of the EC levels is fundamentally important. In the Research Unit FOR 926, the hypothesis has been put forward that the ECS is involved in the maintenance of the body‘s homeostasis, and that in pathological states, the ECS activity shifts to a new stable state, which may be called allostasis. To validate such a hypothesis, the detailed knowledge on the activity status of the ECS is mandatory. For the determination of levels of ECs, EC precursors and EC metabolites LC-MS/MS technology is required. Using this method, accurate tissue concentrations of these lipids will be obtained, with the confidence of the correct identity of the lipid under investigation. This Central Project provides a technology platform, which is essential for the projects of Research Unit FOR 926.

Funding period: 2008-2015