The biological properties and the structure of PEA was first discovered in 1957 and described in a key paper, bearing the titel in capitals:
THE IDENTIFICATION OF N-( 2-HYDR0XYETHYL)- PALMITAMIDE AS A NATURALLY OCCURRING ANTI-INFLAMMATORY AGENT.
The authors described PEA as a natural compound and they also demonstrated that PEA is part of food products such as soybean lecithin, egg yolk and peanut meal, from which it can be isolated.
“We have succeeded in isolating a crystalline anti-inflammatory factor from soybean lecithin and identifying it as S-(2-hydroxyethyl)-palmitamide. The compound also was isolated from a phospholipid fraction of egg yolk and from peanut meal.”
Gangley and his colleagues described in 1958 that PEA can decrease the intensity of several inflammatory and immunological processes in animals.
The Nobel prize laureate Professor Rita Levi-Montalcini wrote in 1993 about molecules as PEA that they may play a self-reparative role in pathological conditions:
“Tissue accumulation of free N-acylethanolamines has been reported to occur in pathological degenerative conditions. As such conditions are known to be associated with inflammatory reactions, one attractive hypothesis is that the production of these lipidmetabolites may play an autacoid role in controlling mast cell behavior in pathological conditions.”
Levi-Montalcini later expanded her ideas about PEA, in 1995 (l.Facci et al, 1995):
“Conceivably, PEA… might play a role in modulating cellular defence mechanisms ….. The activation …. might down-modulate deleterious cellular processes following pathological events or noxious stimuli in both the immune and nervous systems….”
Aloe L, Leon A, Levi-Montalcini R.A proposed autacoid mechanism controlling mastocyte behaviour. Agents Actions. 1993;39 Spec No:C145-7.
Ganley, O., Graesle, E, H.J., Robinson HJ. J. in: Lab. clin. Med. 57, 709 (1958)
Kuehl, F.A.; Jacob, T.A.; Ganley, O.H.; Ormond, R.E.; Meisinger, M.A.P. J.Am.Chem. Soc. 1957, 79, 5577-5578.
L. Facci et al. Mast cells express a peripheral cannabinoid receptor with differential sensitivity to anandamide and palmitoylethanolamide. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA Vol. 92, pp. 3376-3380, April 1995