Palmitoylethanolamide as adjunctive therapy for autism: Efficacy and safety results from a randomized controlled trial.

 Journal of Psychiatric Research Home

“Inflammation as well as glutamate excitotoxicity have been proposed to participate in the propagation of autism. Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) is an endocannabinoid proven to prevent glutamatergic toxicity and inhibit inflammatory responses simultaneously.

The present randomized, parallel group, double-blind placebo-controlled trial is the first study depicted to probe the efficacy of co-treatment with risperidone and PEA over 10 weeks in children with autism.

Seventy children (aged 4-12 years) with autism and moderate to severe symptoms of irritability were randomly assigned to two treatment regimens. The study outcomes were measured using the Aberrant Behavior Checklist-Community Edition (ABC-C). At trial endpoint (week 10), combination of PEA and risperidone had superior efficacy in ameliorating the ABC-irritability and hyperactivity/noncompliance symptoms (Cohen’s d, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.94, 0.41 to 1.46, p = 0.001) compared with a risperidone plus placebo regimen. Interestingly, effect of combination treatment on hyperactivity symptoms was also observed at trial midpoint (week 5) but with a smaller effect size (d = 0.53, p = 0.04) than that at the endpoint (d = 0.94, p = 0.001). Meanwhile, there was a trend toward significance for superior effect of risperidone plus PEA over risperidone plus placebo on inappropriate speech at trial endpoint (d = 0.51, p = 0.051). No significant differences existed between the two treatment groups for the other two ABC-C subscales (lethargy/social withdrawal and stereotypic behavior).

The findings suggest that PEA may augment therapeutic effects of risperidone on autism-related irritability and hyperactivity. Future studies are warranted to investigate whether PEA can serve as a stand-alone treatment for autism.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29807317

https://www.journalofpsychiatricresearch.com/article/S0022-3956(17)31405-X/fulltext

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Antiepileptogenic Effect of Subchronic Palmitoylethanolamide Treatment in a Mouse Model of Acute Epilepsy.

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“Research on the antiepileptic effects of (endo-)cannabinoids has remarkably progressed in the years following the discovery of fundamental role of the endocannabinoid (eCB) system in controlling neural excitability. Moreover, an increasing number of well-documented cases of epilepsy patients exhibiting multi-drug resistance report beneficial effects of cannabis use.

Pre-clinical and clinical research has increasingly focused on the antiepileptic effectiveness of exogenous administration of cannabinoids and/or pharmacologically induced increase of eCBs such as anandamide (also known as arachidonoylethanolamide [AEA]). Concomitant research has uncovered the contribution of neuroinflammatory processes and peripheral immunity to the onset and progression of epilepsy.

Accordingly, modulation of inflammatory pathways such as cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) was pursued as alternative therapeutic strategy for epilepsy. Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) is an endogenous fatty acid amide related to the centrally and peripherally present eCB AEA, and is a naturally occurring nutrient that has long been recognized for its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Neuroprotective and anti-hyperalgesic properties of PEA were evidenced in neurodegenerative diseases, and antiepileptic effects in pentylenetetrazol (PTZ), maximal electroshock (MES) and amygdaloid kindling models of epileptic seizures. Moreover, numerous clinical trials in chronic pain revealed that PEA treatment is devoid of addiction potential, dose limiting side effects and psychoactive effects, rendering PEA an appealing candidate as antiepileptic compound or adjuvant.

In the present study, we aimed at assessing antiepileptic properties of PEA in a mouse model of acute epileptic seizures induced by systemic administration of kainic acid (KA).

Here, we demonstrate that subchronic administration of PEA significantly alleviates seizure intensity, promotes neuroprotection and induces modulation of the plasma and hippocampal eCB and eiC levels in systemic KA-injected mice.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29593494

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnmol.2018.00067/full

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Cannabidiol and Palmitoylethanolamide are anti-inflammatory in the acutely inflamed human colon.

Clinical Science “We sought to quantify the anti-inflammatory effects of two cannabinoid drugs: cannabidiol (CBD) and palmitoylethanolamide (PEA), in cultured cell lines and compared this effect with experimentally inflamed explant human colonic tissue.  These effects were explored in acutely and chronically inflamed colon, using inflammatory bowel disease and appendicitis explants.

Results:   IFNγ and TNFα treatment increased phosphoprotein and cytokine levels in Caco-2 cultures and colonic explants.  Phosphoprotein levels were significantly reduced by PEA or CBD in Caco-2 cultures and colonic explants.  CBD and PEA prevented increases in cytokine production in explant colon, but not in Caco-2 cells. CBD effects were blocked by the CB2antagonist AM630 and TRPV1 antagonist SB366791.  PEA effects were blocked by the PPARα antagonist GW6471.  PEA and CBD were anti-inflammatory in IBD and appendicitis explants.

Conclusion: PEA and CBD are anti-inflammatory in the human colon.  This effect is not seen in cultured epithelial cells. Appropriately sized clinical trials should assess their efficacy.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28954820

http://www.clinsci.org/content/early/2017/09/26/CS20171288

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Palmitoylethanolamide reduces inflammation and itch in a mouse model of contact allergic dermatitis.

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“In mice, 2,4-dinitrofluorobenzene (DNFB) induces contact allergic dermatitis (CAD), which, in a late phase, is characterized by mast cell (MC) infiltration and angiogenesis.

Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA), an endogenous anti-inflammatory molecule, acts by down-modulating MCs following activation of the cannabinoid CB2 receptor and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-α (PPAR-α).

We have previously reported the anti-inflammatory effect of PEA in the early stage of CAD.

Here, we examined whether PEA reduces the features of the late stage of CAD including MC activation, angiogenesis and itching.

PEA, by reducing the features of late stage CAD in mice, may be beneficial in this pathological condition.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27720681

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Selective Cannabinoid Receptor-1 Agonists Regulate Mast Cell Activation in an Oxazolone-Induced Atopic Dermatitis Model.

“Many inflammatory mediators, including various cytokines (e.g. interleukins and tumor necrosis factor [TNF]), inflammatory proteases, and histamine are released following mast cell activation.

Endogenous cannabinoids such as palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) and N-arachidonoylethanolamine (anandamide or AEA), were found in peripheral tissues and have been proposed to possess autacoid activity, implying that cannabinoids may downregulate mast cell activation and local inflammation.

Our results indicate that CB1R agonists down-regulate mast cell activation and may be used for relieving inflammatory symptoms mediated by mast cell activation, such as atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and contact dermatitis.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26848215

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