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Food intake induces synthesis of -acylphosphatidylethanolamines (NAPEs) in the intestinal tract. While NAPEs exert leptin-like (leptogenic) effects, including reduced weight gain and food intake, the mechanisms by which NAPEs induce these leptogenic effects remain unclear. One key question is whether intestinal NAPEs act directly on cognate receptors or first require conversion to -acylethanolamides (NAEs) by NAPE-hydrolyzing phospholipase D (NAPE-PLD). Previous studies using mice were equivocal because intraperitoneal injection of NAPEs led to nonspecific aversive effects. To avoid the aversive effects of injection, we delivered NAPEs and NAEs intestinally using gut bacteria synthesizing these compounds. Unlike in wild-type mice, increasing intestinal levels of NAPE using NAPE-synthesizing bacteria in mice failed to reduce food intake and weight gain or alter gene expression. In contrast, increasing intestinal NAE levels in mice using NAE-synthesizing bacteria induced all of these effects. These NAE-synthesizing bacteria also markedly increased NAE levels and decreased inflammatory gene expression in omental adipose tissue. These results demonstrate that intestinal NAPEs require conversion to NAEs by the action of NAPE-PLD to exert their various leptogenic effects, so that the reduced intestinal NAPE-PLD activity found in obese subjects may directly contribute to excess food intake and obesity.
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