Hanson Cowan

Hanson Cowan

PI: Sean Davies, PhD , Department of Clinical Pharmacology

The Effect of Diet on Levels of N-acylphosphatidylethanolamines (NAPEs) and N-acylethanolamides (NAEs)

Over the past several decades, developed countries have been facing increasing rates of obesity, type II diabetes and other metabolic disorders. A novel therapeutic approach to combatting these diseases is through the manipulation of gut microbiota. Through this manipulation, gut microbiota could protect against the negative effects of these diseases by secreting factors that induce satiety or other desired effects. An example of this modification is introducing modified gut bacteria that synthesize N-acylphosphatidylethanolamines (NAPEs), which has the ability to induce satiety. However, natural NAPE synthesis is impaired by a high fat diet. Furthermore, NAPEs are converted to N-acylethanolamides (NAE), by NAPE-PLD, and are known to induce decreased food intake and weight loss.

Because of the potential therapeutic effects of NAPEs and NAEs, we are examining a variety of food items to identify which foods have high levels of NAPEs or NAEs. Additionally, we are examining the effects a high fat diet, low fat diet and standard diet have on plasma and fecal levels of NAPE and NAE in mice. Through this we will be able to quantify the amount of NAPE or NAE absorbed.

Potentially, the food sources that are rich with NAPEs and NAEs could be used as an effortless implementation mechanism that could protect against the development of metabolic diseases by their ability to control food intake. Additionally, manipulated gut microbiota has the potential of providing improved treatment of obesity due to its ability to constantly and directly secrete its therapeutic compounds into the body.