Abstract

A molecule isolated from the cerebrospinal fluid of sleep-deprived cats has been chemically characterized and identified as cis-9,10-octadecenoamide. Other fatty acid primary amides in addition to cis-9,10-octadecenoamide were identified as natural constituents of the cerebrospinal fluid of cat, rat, and human, indicating that these compounds compose a distinct family of brain lipids. Synthetic cis-9,10-octadecenoamide induced physiological sleep when injected into rats. Together, these results suggest that fatty acid primary amides may represent a previously unrecognized class of biological signaling molecules.

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