Cannabinoid exposure and altered DNA methylation in rat and human sperm.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Little is known about the reproductive effects of paternal cannabis exposure. We evaluated associations between cannabis or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) exposure and altered DNA methylation in sperm from humans and rats, respectively. DNA methylation, measured by reduced representation bisulfite sequencing, differed in the sperm of human users from non-users by at least 10% at 3,979 CpG sites. Pathway analyses indicated Hippo Signaling and Pathways in Cancer as enriched with altered genes (Bonferroni p < 0.02). These same two pathways were also enriched with genes having altered methylation in sperm from THC-exposed versus vehicle-exposed rats (p < 0.01). Data validity is supported by significant correlations between THC exposure levels in humans and methylation for 177 genes, and substantial overlap in THC target genes in rat sperm (this study) and genes previously reported as having altered methylation in the brain of rat offspring born to parents both exposed to THC during adolescence. In humans, cannabis use was also associated with significantly lower sperm concentration. Findings point to possible pre-conception paternal reproductive risks associated with cannabis use.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Murphy, SK; Itchon-Ramos, N; Visco, Z; Huang, Z; Grenier, C; Schrott, R; Acharya, K; Boudreau, M-H; Price, TM; Raburn, DJ; Corcoran, DL; Lucas, JE; Mitchell, JT; McClernon, FJ; Cauley, M; Hall, BJ; Levin, ED; Kollins, SH

Published Date

  • 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 13 / 12

Start / End Page

  • 1208 - 1221

PubMed ID

  • 30521419

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC6986792

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1559-2308

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/15592294.2018.1554521


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States