20 Apr Mouse Study Suggests Marijuana May Affect Male Fertility
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Paola Grimaldi, PhD
Associate Professor of Anatomy
Department of Biomedicine and Prevention,
School of Medicine, University of Rome Tor Vergata
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Grimaldi: Our previous studies reported that mouse mitotic germ cells, spermatogonia, express type 2 cannabinoid receptor (CB2) and its stimulation promoted differentiation and meiotic entry of these cells in vitro. In this study we demonstrate that CB2 plays a role of in regulating the correct progression of spermatogenesis in vivo and we found that the use of exogenous agonist or antagonist of this receptor disrupts the normal differentiation of germ cells. This suggests that a basal and finely regulated level of endocannabinoids in male germ cells activate CB2, thus maintaining the homeostasis of spermatogenesis.
Another important novelty of our study is that CB2 activation in developing germ cells determines the appearance of modifications in DNA-bound proteins, which are known to impact on gene expression and inheritance of specific traits in developing germ cells. An exciting idea could be that these modifications might be maintained in the mature spermatozoa and transmitted to the offspring.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Grimaldi: Our finding that CB2 contributes to the physiological regulation of spermatogenesis might open new therapeutic perspectives. In fact, tailored treatment of patients with the right dose of activators of this receptor could help to reset progression of a normal spermatogenesis in infertile or subfertile patients, thus improving male reproductive health.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Grimaldi: Diffusion of marijuana for medical and/or recreational use, but mostly, the abuse among young people, underlines the need to elucidate the possible adverse effect on health of consumers.
In our study, starting from a mouse model, we highlight the possibility that cannabis may impair spermatogenesis. Hitherward, future research should be directed to investigate the role of CB2 receptor also in human spermatogenesis.
This point is very important to understand and it might open new potential therapeutic perspectives for correcting male infertility through the use of synthetic and specific agonist of CB2.
Di Giacomo, E. De Domenico, C. Sette, R. Geremia, P. Grimaldi. Type 2 cannabinoid receptor contributes to the physiological regulation of spermatogenesis. The FASEB Journal, 2015; 30 (4): 1453 DOI: 10.1096/fj.15-279034