Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Synthetic Cannabinoid May Aid Fertility in Smokers

05.12.2006
A reproductive medicine specialist at the University at Buffalo has shown that a new compound may improve the fertility of tobacco smokers who have low sperm count and low percentage sperm motility.

The sperm from male smokers were washed with a synthetic chemical called AM-1346. After incubation, there was a doubling in the fertilizing capacity of sperm from poor quality semen, results showed.

Lani Burkman, Ph.D., and colleagues presented the findings at the 2006 meeting of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine held recently in New Orleans.

"Based on our previous data and published literature, it is clear that most tobacco smokers will exhibit a small or a significant decline in fertility," she stated. "Nicotine addiction is quite powerful. The best solution is to stop smoking and then wean yourself off of all nicotine products. But for smokers who can't quit, the in vitro use of AM-1346 may significantly improve their fertilizing capacity."

Burkman, associate professor in the departments of gynecology/obstetrics and urology and head of the Section on Andrology in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, previously demonstrated that sperm functions critical for fertilization are altered by nicotine exposure, whether in vitro, or through long-term tobacco use. Two-thirds of the male smokers studied had decreased fertility; some showed a serious loss.

The new study involved nine selected smokers (22 experiments) who had been evaluated previously for sperm fertilizing potential using the outside cover of a human egg, called the zona pellucida. Four men had a high number of sperm attaching to the zona (normal, Group I), while five other smokers had sperm with poor egg binding (poor fertilizing potential, Group II).

The new experiments were designed to evaluate whether sperm with poor fertilizing capacity from smokers could be treated so that egg binding was improved. Specifically, the researchers studied a potential interaction between two chemical systems that control sperm.

"Human sperm carry the cholinergic receptor, which responds to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine," noted Burkman. "Nicotine mimics acetylcholine and binds to the cholinergic receptor." In earlier research, Burkman and colleagues also showed that human sperm contain cannabinoid receptors, which respond to marijuana, as well as natural cannabinoids occurring in the body.

"Research from other scientists indicates that the cholinergic system and the cannabinoid system naturally regulate human sperm and help prepare them for fertilizing an egg," she said. "Our research suggests that this natural regulation is out of balance for the majority of smokers when sperm are continuously exposed to nicotine.

"We think there is an important communication between the cannabinoid and cholinergic receptor systems in human sperm," said Burkman. "No one has shown this interaction before when looking at human tissue. AM-1346, the drug that we tested, is a synthetic version of a natural cannabinoid found in the body.

"In 22 Hemizona tests, we showed that the response to AM-1346 depended on the initial fertility of the tobacco smoker, and if his semen showed poor quality, meaning low sperm count and low percentage motility."

The sperm from Group II volunteers were incubated with AM-1346 for several hours and then retested in the Hemizona Assay. Six experiments in Group II started with semen of low quality and all six resulted in stimulation of sperm binding to the zona ranging from 133 percent to 330 percent, with a mean of 201 percent, when compared to their own untreated sperm, results showed.

"In contrast," said Burkman, "samples from Group I (normal fertility, normal semen quality) reacted in the opposite manner. This two-way, or biphasic, response is common for cannabinoid action. With Group I, the drug AM-1346 caused a substantial decrease in sperm binding to the zona for eight out of nine samples.

"This opposite response must be studied further," Burkman said. "It might be tied to early-versus-late steps in fertilization, where it is expected that one process is slowed down while another process is stimulated.

"It does appear that sperm functioning in tobacco smokers with low fertility and low semen quality is quite different when compared to smokers with higher fertility and good semen quality. Nicotine appears to change the sperm membranes and sperm receptors. It also raises the question of why sperm from some smokers are protected from the effects of tobacco and nicotine."

Roxanne Mroz and MaryLou Bodziak, UB research associates, contributed to this work, along with UB undergraduate students Stuti Tambar and Brian Telesz. Alexandros Makriyannis, Ph.D., from Northeastern University, created AM-1346.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, the largest and most comprehensive campus in the State University of New York. The School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences is one of five schools that constitute UB's Academic Health Center.

Lois Baker | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.buffalo.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures
17.11.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

nachricht High speed video recording precisely measures blood cell velocity
15.11.2017 | ITMO University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Antarctic landscape insights keep ice loss forecasts on the radar

20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Filling the gap: High-latitude volcanic eruptions also have global impact

20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Water world

20.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>