Anandamide is a lipid messenger that carries out a wide variety of biological functions. It has been suggested that anandamide accumulation involves binding to a saturable cellular component. To identify the structure(s) involved in this process, we analyzed the intracellular distribution of both biotinylated and radiolabeled anandamide, providing direct evidence that lipid droplets, also known as adiposomes, constitute a dynamic reservoir for the sequestration of anandamide. In addition, confocal microscopy and biochemical studies revealed that the anandamide-hydrolase is also spatially associated with lipid droplets, and that cells with a larger adiposome compartment have an enhanced catabolism of anandamide. Overall, these findings suggest that adiposomes may have a critical role in accumulating anandamide, possibly by connecting plasma membrane to internal organelles along the metabolic route of this endocannabinoid.
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