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Pharmaceuticals 2010, 3(10), 3200-3211;

Endocannabinoids and Human Sperm Cells

Department of Biochemistry, Biology and Genetics, Marche Polytechnic University, 60131 Ancona, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 September 2010 / Accepted: 20 September 2010 / Published: 12 October 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cannabinoids)
Full-Text   |   PDF [136 KB, uploaded 12 October 2010]


N-acylethanolamides (NAEs) are naturally occurring signaling lipids consisting of amides and esters of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids. Usually they are present in a very small amounts in many mammalian tissues and cells, including human reproductive tracts and fluids. Recently, the presence of N-arachidonoylethanolamide (anandamide, AEA), the most characterised member of endocannabinoids, and its congeners palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) and oleylethanolamide (OEA) in seminal plasma, oviductal fluid, and follicular fluids was demonstrated. AEA has been shown to bind not only type-1 (CB1) and type-2 (CB2) cannabinoid receptors, but also type-1 vanilloid receptor (TRPV1), while PEA and OEA are inactive with respect to classical cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 but activate TRPV1 or peroxisome proliferator activate receptors (PPARs). This review concerns the most recent experimental data on PEA and OEA, endocannabinoid-like molecules which appear to exert their action exclusively on sperm cells with altered features, such as membrane characteristics and kinematic parameters. Their beneficial effects on these cells could suggest a possible pharmacological use of PEA and OEA on patients affected by some forms of idiopathic infertility. View Full-Text
Keywords: endocannabinoids; human sperm cells; idiopathic infertility; oleylethanolamide; palmitoylethanolamide endocannabinoids; human sperm cells; idiopathic infertility; oleylethanolamide; palmitoylethanolamide
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Ambrosini, A.; Fiorini, R.; Zolese, G. Endocannabinoids and Human Sperm Cells. Pharmaceuticals 2010, 3, 3200-3211.

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