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Papers of the Week

Papers: 14 May 2022 - 20 May 2022

Pharmacology/Drug Development

2022 May


36 Suppl 1

Shut the F(AAH) Up: Inhibiting Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase as a Novel Approach to Pain.


Strandberg S, Brzozowski K, Daily M, Desjarlais C, Dougherty M, Hemsworth K, Mark K, Marsho J, Mora Gallegos L, Otten E, Schaefer C, Scheidt A, Strandberg S, Toth H, Vanderhoef K, Walesa A, White T
FASEB J. 2022 May; 36 Suppl 1.
PMID: 35559559.


Promising new therapeutic treatments using the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) inhibitor can be used to relieve symptoms in a patient suffering from a variety of conditions, including but not limited to insomnia, anxiety, fibromyalgia, migraines, arthritis, and other chronic pain conditions. FAAH is responsible for breaking down anandamide, which is an endogenous agonist of the CB1 cannabinoid receptor and analgesic neurotransmitter. The FAAH protein contains a catalytic triad of Ser 241, Ser 217, Lys 142 embedded in its center. The FAAH monomer assumes a twisted 11 strand β-sheet in the middle of the monomer and 24 α-helices surrounding the β-sheets. The Divine Savior Holy Angels MAPS (Modeling A Protein Story) Team modeled the catalytic domain of FAAH using 3D technology. Inhibitors of the FAAH molecules perform better through noncovalent interactions with the triad active site. The inhibitors stop FAAH activity through hydrophobic interactions that result from the active site changing its shape. Noncovalent and reversible inhibitors bring higher selectivity and less unwanted side effects than already studied covalent inhibitors. Non-covalent FAAH inhibitors are currently in development as analgesics lacking the adverse effects of opioid-based analgesics. Further studies are being conducted with selective and potent FAAH inhibitors in order to reduce neurological pain suppression, reduction of cancer cells, and increase feeling of motivation. Currently, the United States is in an opioid crisis that caused 100,000 deaths in the last year, which is why new treatments involving FAAH inhibitors prove promising because they reduce the extreme effects opioid-based drugs present.