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