The type 1-cannabinoid receptor, CNR1, regulates differentiation of spermatids. Indeed, we have recently reported that the genetic inactivation of Cnr1 in mice influenced chromatin remodeling of spermatids, by reducing histone displacement and then sperm chromatin quality indices (chromatin condensation and DNA integrity). Herein, we have studied, at both central and testicular levels, the molecular signals potentially involved in histone displacement. In particular, investigation of the neuroendocrine axis involved in estrogen production demonstrated down-regulation of the axis supporting FSH/estrogen secretion in Cnr1-knockout male mice. Conversely, Cnr1-knockout male mice treated with 17beta-estradiol showed a weak increase of pituitary Fsh-beta subunit mRNA levels and a rescue of sperm chromatin quality indices demonstrating that estrogens, possibly in combination with FSH secretion, play an important role in regulating chromatin remodeling of spermatids.
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Vol. 88 • No. 6