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 Organ-on-a-chip mimics heart's biomechanical properties
23.02.2017 | Vanderbilt University

nachricht Researchers identify cause of hereditary skeletal muscle disorder
22.02.2017 | Klinikum der Universität München

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: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system'

23.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

'Quartz' crystals at the Earth's core power its magnetic field

23.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Antimicrobial substances identified in Komodo dragon blood

23.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>