The Effects of Delta–9–Tetrahydrocannabinol, the primary psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana, on human sperm function in vitro.

Lynne B. Whan, Mhairi C. L. West, Neil McClure, Sheena E. M. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: to investigate the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol; THC on human sperm function in vitro. Design: laboratory analysis of sperm motility with and without exposure to THC using computer assisted semen analysis (CASA) and acrosome reaction by fluoroscein isothiocyanate labelled peanut agglutinin (FITC-PNA) staining. Setting: An ART unit in a tertiary medical centre. Patients: semen was obtained from 78 men attending the Regional Fertility Centre, Belfast. Interventions: Sperm were divided into 90% (the best fertilizing potential used in assisted conception) and 45% (the poorer subpopulation) fractions by density centrifugation and incubated with, or without (controls), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) at concentrations equivalent to therapeutic (0.032�?�¯?�?�­M) and recreational (4.8 and 0.32�?�¯?�?�­M) plasma levels, at 37�?�¯?�?�°C for 3 hours. Main outcome measures: Sperm motility, spontaneous and induced acrosome reactions Results: There was a dose-dependent decrease in percentage progressive motility (-21% at 4.8�??�?�µM, p0.05) in the 90% fraction. The 45% fraction showed a greater decrease in percentage progressive motility (-56% at 4.8�??�?�µM, p=0.011; -23% at 0.32�??�?�µM, p= 0.039; and -28% at 0.032�??�?�µM, p=0.004). A decrease in the straight line velocity; VSL (-10%) and the average path velocity; VAP (-10%) were also observed in the 90% fraction. A significant inhibition (-15% at 4.8�??�?�µM, p=0.04) in spontaneous acrosome reaction was observed in the 90% fraction. The 45% fraction showed a more marked inhibition [-35% (p
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-660
Number of pages8
JournalFertility and Sterility
Volume85
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006

Keywords

  • Cannabis
  • sperm
  • tetrahydrocannabinol
  • motility
  • acrosome reaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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