Today’s post aims to explain the conclusions drawn from research performed by the Biology Department at Instituto Bernabeu in Alicante in collaboration with the Biotechnology Department at the University of Alicante. The work in question was awarded the ICIRA prize for research. The study looked into the effects of cannabinoids (marijuana derivatives) and substances that are produced by our organisms (endocannabinoids) on male fertility.
As well as establishing the location and distribution of these receptors in the human spermatozoon, the research also verified important modifications in the behaviour and function of these cells when under the effects of cannabinoids.
According to the data obtained, cannabinoids have a significant impact on spermatozoon movement. They reduce its progressive motility and increase the proportion of immobile spermatozoa or, in other words, spermatozoa that are unable to fertilise the female oocyte. Furthermore, they are the cause of a premature increase in their acrosome reaction – a reaction that is required in order to penetrate the oocyte – and this decreases the human spermatozoon’s ability to fertilise. Last of all, the research also observed a clear and significant decrease in the male germ cell’s viability.
The findings open up new perspectives in research into the ability of male germ cells to fertilise. These new perspectives will help to provide an understanding of the complex mechanisms involved in human fertilisation and unveil the influence that many exogenous factors (pharmaceutical drugs, drugs, endocrine disruptors, etc.) have on this small cell that, despite being apparently quite simple, is very complex indeed.