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Signalling lipids of the N-acyl ethanolamine (NAE) and ceramide (CER) classes have emerged as potential biomarkers of cardiovascular disease (CVD). We sought to establish the heritability of plasma NAEs (including the endocannabinoid anandamide) and CERs, to identify common DNA variants influencing the circulating concentrations of the heritable lipids, and assess causality of these lipids in CVD using 2-sample Mendelian randomization (2SMR). Nine NAEs and 16 CERs were analyzed in plasma samples from 999 members of 196 British Caucasian families, using targeted ultra-performance liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry. All lipids were significantly heritable (h2 = 36-62%). A missense variant (rs324420) in the gene encoding the enzyme fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), which degrades NAEs, associated at genome-wide association study (GWAS) significance (P 

Original publication




Journal article


Hum Mol Genet

Publication Date





500 - 513