Exposure to cannabis alters the genetic profile of sperm


Human sperm stained for semen quality testing in the clinical laboratory.

As legal access to marijuana continues expanding across the U.S., more scientists are studying the effects of its active ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), in teens, adults and pregnant women.

New research from Duke Health suggests men in their child-bearing years should also consider how THC could impact their and possibly the children they conceive during periods when they’ve been using the drug.

Much like previous research that has shown , pesticides, flame retardants and even obesity can alter sperm, the Duke research shows THC also affects epigenetics, triggering structural and regulatory changes in the DNA of users’ sperm.

Experiments in rats and a study with 24 men found that THC appears to target genes in two major cellular pathways and alters DNA methylation, a process essential to normal development.

The researchers do not yet know whether DNA changes triggered by THC are passed to users’ children and what effects that could have. Their findings will be published online Dec. 19 in the journal Epigenetics.

“What we have found is that the effects of cannabis use on males and their are not completely null, in that there’s something about cannabis use that affects the genetic profile in sperm,” said Scott Kollins, Ph.D., professor in psychiatry and at Duke and senior author of the study.

“We don’t yet know what that means, but the fact that more and more young males of child-bearing age have legal access to cannabis is something we should be thinking about,” Kollins said.

National research has shown a steady decline in the perceived risk of regular marijuana use. This, combined with the demand and wide availability of marijuana bred specifically to yield higher THC content, make this research especially timely, Kollins said.

The study defined regular users as those who smoked marijuana at least weekly for the previous six months. Their sperm were compared to those who had not used marijuana in the past six months and not more than 10 times in their lifetimes.

The higher the concentration of THC in the men’s urine, the more pronounced the genetic changes to their sperm were, the authors found.

THC appeared to impact hundreds of different genes in rats and humans, but many of the genes did have something in common—they were associated with two of the same major cellular pathways, said lead author Susan K. Murphy, Ph.D., associate professor and chief of the Division of Reproductive Sciences in obstetrics and gynecology at Duke.

One of the pathways is involved in helping bodily organs reach their full size; the other involves a large number of genes that regulate growth during development. Both pathways can become dysregulated in some cancers.

“In terms of what it means for the developing child, we just don’t know,” Murphy said. It’s unknown whether sperm affected by THC could be healthy enough to even fertilize an egg and continue its development into an embryo, she said.

The study was a starting point on the epigenetic effects of THC on sperm and is limited by the relatively small number of men involved in the trial, Murphy said. The findings in men also could be confounded by other factors affecting their health, such as their nutrition, sleep, alcohol use and other lifestyle habits.

The Duke team plans to continue its research with larger groups. They intend to study whether changes in sperm are reversed when men stop using marijuana. They also hope to test the umbilical cord blood of babies born to fathers with THC-altered sperm to determine what, if any epigenetic changes, are carried forward to the child.

“We know that there are effects of cannabis use on the regulatory mechanisms in sperm DNA, but we don’t know whether they can be transmitted to the next generation,” Murphy said.

“In the absence of a larger, definitive study, the best advice would be to assume these changes are going to be there,” Murphy said. “We don’t know whether they are going to be permanent. I would say, as a precaution, stop using cannabis for at least six months before trying to conceive.”

How the trauma of life is passed down in SPERM, affecting the mental health of future generations


  • The changes are so strong they can even influence a man’s grandchildren
  • They make the offspring more prone to conditions like bipolar disorder

The children of people who have experienced extremely traumatic events are more likely to develop mental health problems.

And new research shows this is because experiencing trauma leads to changes in the sperm.

These changes can cause a man’s children to develop bipolar disorder and are so strong they can even influence the man’s grandchildren.

Psychologists have long known that traumatic experiences can induce behavioural disorders that are passed down from one generation to the next.

However, they are only just beginning to understand how this happens.

Researchers at the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich now think they have come one step closer to understanding how the effects of traumas can be passed down the generations.

The researchers found that short RNA molecules – molecules that perform a wide range of vital roles in the body – are made from DNA by enzymes that read specific sections of the DNA and use them as template to produce corresponding RNAs.

Other enzymes then trim these RNAs into mature forms.

Cells naturally contain a large number of different short RNA molecules called microRNAs.

They have regulatory functions, such as controlling how many copies of a particular protein are made.

The researchers studied the number and kind of microRNAs expressed by adult mice exposed to traumatic conditions in early life and compared them with non-traumatised mice.

They discovered that traumatic stress alters the amount of several microRNAs in the blood, brain and sperm – while some microRNAs were produced in excess, others were lower than in the corresponding tissues or cells of control animals.

These alterations resulted in misregulation of cellular processes normally controlled by these microRNAs.

After traumatic experiences, the mice behaved markedly differently – they partly lost their natural aversion to open spaces and bright light and showed symptoms of depression.

Men who have experienced traumatic events are more likely to have children with mental health problems

Men who have experienced traumatic events are more likely to have children with mental health problems

 These behavioural symptoms were also transferred to the next generation via sperm, even though the offspring were not exposed to any traumatic stress themselves.

The metabolisms of the offspring of stressed mice were also impaired – their insulin and blood sugar levels were lower than in the offspring of non-traumatised parents.

‘We were able to demonstrate for the first time that traumatic experiences affect metabolism in the long-term and that these changes are hereditary,’ said Professor Isabelle Mansuy.

‘With the imbalance in microRNAs in sperm, we have discovered a key factor through which trauma can be passed on.’

However, certain questions remain open, such as how the dysregulation in short RNAs comes about.

Professor Mansuy said: ‘Most likely, it is part of a chain of events that begins with the body producing too many stress hormones.’

Importantly, acquired traits other than those induced by trauma could also be inherited through similar mechanisms, the researcher suspects.

Source:dailymail.co.uk

9 Ways To Make Your Sperm Stronger, Faster And More Fertile


Healthy sperms translate into healthy babies. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and improving the quality of nutrition is essential to improve your chances of conception.

Most men are advised a medication course to solve problems with poor sperm count or quality, when pervent attempts at conceiving come to nought. But there are many natural ways to prepare yourself physically and mentally to become a dad. Here are some valuable tips to get you on your way:

Sperm Facts That You Didn’t Know About

Sperm-Facts-That-You-Didn’t-Know-About

Although there is a large amount that leaves from time to time, studies show that healthy and strong sperm takes over 2 months to develop. The head of a sperm is topped with acrosome, the chemical which helps break down the external surface of the egg and enter. Sperm cells actually only transport the DNA that is required to create an offspring, they are not exactly what helps.

Sperm Facts

Here is list of male sperm facts.

1. High Rate of Abnormality:

Over 90% of an ejaculation contains abnormal sperm. Although this doesn’t matter as just one of the million is required for fertilization.

2. Sperm Machine:

Although there is a large amount that leaves from time to time, studies show that healthy and strong sperm takes over 2 months to develop.

3. The Attack Helmet:

The head of a sperm is topped with acrosome, this chemical helps break down the external surface of the egg and enter.

4. One is Still Two:

Its ok if you don’t have one testicle, one is as good as two. It doesn’t actually change your potency level.

5. Y Chromosome:

The Y chromosome is directly inherited from your father. Every other chromosome is a fusion of the mother and father but the Y stays the same through generations sometimes.

6. Forever Fertile:

Women have a fixed number of eggs and run out by the time they are 50 but men can father a son for as long as they are alive.

7. Immune and Safe:

Sperm cells could be attacked by our own immune system, but that doesn’t happen because they have a external layer of cells that prevents this damage.

8. Mode of Transport:

Sperm cells actually only transport the DNA that is required to create an offspring, they are not exactly what helps.

9. Keep it Cool:

For sake of the sperm the testicles have to be around 7 degrees cooler than the normal body temperature.

10: Population:

Although every ejaculation may only be around half a teaspoon, it contains 200 million sperms. That is two-thirds the population of the United States.

 

Scientists discover an on/off switch for sperm that could lead to better male contraceptives


Researchers have made a discovery that could lead to better birth control measures for both men and women: a biological on/off switch that controls the movement of sperm. As well as helping couples avoid unwanted pregnancies, the new findings could also help improve fertility rates for those struggling to conceive.

As Gizmodo reports, the protein at the centre of the new study is the little-known ABHD2. Experiments carried out by teams at UC Berkeley and Yale University show that this protein is required for the biological processes that cause sperm to become more energetic swimmers.

Ordinarily, the ova puts out a hormone called progesterone to encourage a sperm race, and the progesterone is triggered by the opening of a calcium channel called CatSper. And now it seems that ABHD2 sits between the progesterone and the CatSper in this biological chain of events.

This means that ABHD2 is essential in getting the progesterone to react with CatSper and cause the sperm tails to kick into a frenzy. Without that reaction, the sperm just drift along as normal.

It’s an important internal mechanism – after all, you don’t want sperm sprinting towards an egg prematurely and running out of energy before they get there. “This gives us an understanding of another pathway that is involved in human sperm activity,” said one of the team, Melissa Miller from UC Berkeley.

If ABHD2 can somehow be inhibited, it could pave the way for an effective contraceptive drug for both men and women.

“What’s really cool is that we have an actual target for unisex contraceptive development. If you can stop progesterone from inducing a power stroke, sperm are not going to be able to reach or penetrate the oocyte,” says Miller.

“People tend to think of fertilisation as like a marathon, where the fastest, most powerful sperm is going to win,” she added. “We think of it like the Tour de France, where the riders in front are blocking the wind for the actual winner. Fertilisation is a team sport, where the first sperm clear the way, expending their energy to break through the barrier cells, so that the slow and steady guy can get into the oocyte.”

The research has also cast new light on a long-standing mystery surrounding the performance of steroids like progesterone: specifically, why the reactions they produce can take days or happen instantly.

As scientists begin to understand more about steroid signalling in sperm, the team says, it could help inform research into many other types of cells too.

Men who have casual sex ‘produce better quality sperm’


  • Study examined men’s ejaculate after watching sexually explicit films
  • Found ejaculation was faster and sperm quality better when the men watched clips involving a new, different looking woman 
  • Experts warn male infertility could be under-diagnosed because samples used for testing are commonly produced using new female images
  • Suggest sperm tested could therefore be better quality, misleading results

Men who have sex with new partners are more likely to reach orgasm faster and will produce better quality sperm, scientists believe.

A study has shown that sperm health is improved when men have encounters with unfamiliar women.

And researchers at The College of Wooster in Ohio hope their findings will help to improve treatments for fertility

Men who have sex with new partners are more likely to reach orgasm faster and will produce better quality sperm, a new study by scientists at The College of Wooster in Ohio found

Men who have sex with new partners are more likely to reach orgasm faster and will produce better quality sperm, a new study by scientists at The College of Wooster in Ohio found

Quantity, movement and structure all aid sperm health.

Writing in the journal Evolutionary Psychological Science, researchers said they believe these traits may change for the better, with new sexual partners.

‘Our findings are the first to demonstrate that men’s ejaculate behaviour and composition change in response to novel female stimulus,’ the team led by Paul Joseph said.

 

How do testicles know to make sperm .


Whenever a man ejaculates millions of sperm are produced, yet the average pair of testicles produces billions of sperm in a lifetime. So, why aren’t all of these possible sperm cells created at once?

Testicles have a built in safety device that stops their owners from becoming infertile

Sperm cells come from stem cells deep inside the testicles. When these stem cells divide, they can become another pair of stem cells that stay inside the testicles, or they can start to become sperm cells. In order for men to remain fertile, their testicles need to keep these two options well balanced. If too many cells change, the reserve of stem cells could run out so that no new sperm can be made. If too few cells change, the sperm count would drop because the testicles are filled with stem cells. Either scenario would result in infertility.

One “switch” keeps the testicles from making all the sperm cells at once

A new study by Kanako Ikami et al at the National institute for Basic Biology in Japan states that a single difference inside the cells determines whether or not the stem cells go on to become sperm cells. Ikami conducted a study with mice, and she found that genes the cells were using consist of two specific groups. One group makes a protein that can dock with retinoic acid, the other group cannot not.

When it is time to make new sperm, a pulse of retinoid acid is released into the testes. All cells receive this pulse, but not all cells transform to sperm cells. Ikami found that the cells that could bind with the acid became sperm cells, the cells that remained blind to the pulse continued making stem cells. When Ikami forced the “blind” cells to make the protein necessary to bind with the acid, and then introduced them to the retinoic acid, they started to become sperm cells.

All of the cells inside the testicles are capable of making sperm. but one “switch” prevents them from doing it all in one go.

In a first, French scientists create sperm in lab .


Sperm has been created in a laboratory for the first time, French researchers have claimed, raising hopes of treatment for infertile men.

A company based in in Lyon said they had created human sperm in vitro, a feat which would be a world first.

Isabelle Cuoc, the CEO of the Kallistem laboratory, said: “Kallistem is addressing a major issue whose impacts are felt worldwide: the treatment of male infertility.

“Our team is the first in the world to have developed the technology required to obtain fully formed spermatozoa [sperm] in vitro with sufficient yield for IVF.”

Kallistem said it has taken male fertility tissue, known as spermatogonia, and turned it into mature sperm in test tubes. This complex process usually takes 72 days.

This would benefit tens of thousands of infertile men who cannot develop their own sperm.

But until the publication of a patent on 23 June for the process, called Artisem, the company is refusing to disseminate their results.

The lack of scientific findings published in a peer-reviewed journal has led to experts from around the world calling for caution to be exercised while further work is conducted.

Professor Allan Pacey, an expert in male fertility at the University of Sheffield, said he remained sceptical until the research has reviewed.

“Claims like this can often cause heartache for infertile couples who see them as hope only to have their hopes dashed later when it doesn’t translate into an available procedure,” he told the Daily Mail.

“”If it works, this method opens great prospects,” Professor Nathalie Rives, director of the centre for assisted reproduction at the University Hospital of Rouen, told Le Figaro newspaper.

The private male infertility company hopes to begin human clinical trials within two years and is crowdsourcing funds to make this a reality.

Eventually the lab hopes to treat 50,000 men a year, in a market that is estimated to be worth £1.7bn a year.

7 Little-Known Facts About Sperm For Men’s Health


Single male sperm cell swimming in the fallopian tube

Here’s the truth behind a man’s “sexy swimmers,” from dead sperm making babies to sperm coming in both genders.Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

We all know when a man ejaculates during sex he releases millions and millions of sperm. Although these “sexy swimmers” come in high numbers, only a single sperm can successfully go upstream and fertilize an egg — and there is more to a man’s sperm than just fertilizing the egg to form a fetus.

Sperm live fast and die young. Men have a constant supply of sperm, producing at least 1,500 sperm cells per second. Since they live briefly, sperm supply must constantly be replaced, hence their astounding production rate. But just how valuable is good sperm health when it comes to creating a healthy fetus?

1. There’s a difference between ‘sperm’ and ‘semen.’

Sperm and semen are mistakenly used interchangeably, but they are not the same substance. Sperm cells are actually a part of the semen, which is the whitish, viscous fluid released from the penis, according toMedlinePlus. Sperm leaves the body through the mix of bodily fluids that makeup semen. This fluid contains fructose and proteolytic enzymes that facilitate the mobility of sperm outside the male reproductive tract.

2. 90% of sperm ejaculated is deformed.

Not all sperm are created equal. Sperm can have a multitude of defects in the head, neck, or tail, such as two heads, two tails, and coiled tails — to name a few. These defects can potentially affect the ability of sperm to reach and fertilize an egg, but it does not mean men are infertile. Normal sperm, says the Mayo Clinic, have an oval head with a long tail.

3. Sperm is cold.

A flow of spermatozoaA flow of spermatozoa. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

A man may get caught up in the heat of the moment, but his testicles stay cool. They are about 7 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than the rest of the body. This temperature is necessary to help healthy sperm stay chilled compared to the rest of the body. “Radiator-like” veins pull heat away while muscles in the scrotum raise and lower the testicles to bring them either closer to the body’s warmth or further away.

4. Sperm comes in both genders.

Not all sperm are chromosomally male. Several sperm do carry the X chromosome, while others carry the Y chromosome. However, female sperm is actually stronger than male sperm, according to Harvard Health Publications. This means the likelihood of getting pregnant by a female swimmer is higher than a male one. If a father provides an X chromosome, the baby will be female, whereas if he supplies a Y chromosome, the baby will be male.

5. It takes 2 months to make sperm.

It may take a second for a man to release 1,500 sperm cells, but it takes months to mature in the testes. This regeneration cycle takes about two-and-a-half to three months to fully mature. Healthy sperm will not be ready to fertilize an egg until a new set of sperm — developed in healthy conditions — matures.

6. One testicle can make enough sperm to form a fetus.

Men who have one testicle may be just as fertile as a man with two testicles. Typically, a man with two testicles will produce sperm and semen in both. However, if only one testicle is present, it will take over semen and sperm production. Although there may be reduced semen production, a man’s fertility is not affected in most cases.

7. Dead sperm can make healthy babies.

In vitro fertilization, IVF macro conceptIn vitro fertilization, IVF macro concept. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

In vitro fertilization (IVF) makes it possible to use dead sperm to help form a healthy fetus. Typically, IVF technicians manually combine an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish and then transfer the embryo to the uterus, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Sometimes, a single sperm being inserted inside an egg may be “killed” after being beaten with a technologically advanced glass straw used for this process.

But as you can see, there’s more to men’s little swimmers than fertilization.

Extraordinary Things You Can Do With Sperm


Mature Sperm.
A scanning electron micrograph of mature sperm. University of Utah Andrology M

Sperm is one of the vital components when planning to start a family. Like a women’s egg, a man’s sperm must be healthy in order to reach and penetrate the egg.  Though sperm is mainly used for procreation, it can have extraordinary benefits for everyday life.

In sperm, a crystalline polyamine compound called Spermine can be found. This particular compound is also known as an antioxidant. It is believed to diminish wrinkles, smooth skin and help with taming or preventing acne. Bioforskning, a Norwegian company, has synthesized the compounds into a facial cream.  According to Bioforskning, the cream Spermine is 30 times more effective than vitamin E and can delay the aging process by 20 percent. However, nature’s most natural facial cream can cost you a whopping $250.

Not only can sperm provide healthy skin, but also it can be used as an anti-depressant. In a recent study, researchers demonstrated that women who were directly exposed to semen were less likely to be depressed. The study stated mood-altering hormones that are present in semen can be absorbed through the vagina. Some of these mood-altering chemicals include, but are not limited to prolactin, a natural anti-depressant; oxytocin, which assist in enhancing one’s mood and serotonin, a widely known antidepressant neurotransmitter.

Sperm is also directly linked to the frequency and intensity of a woman’s morning sickness. According to SUNY-Albany psychologist Gordon Gallup, the frequency of morning sickness is directly related to the frequency of insemination during pregnancy.  Gallup and graduate student Jeremy Atkinson revealed women who undergo artificial insemination may experience worst cases of vomiting, and nausea.

When it comes to cooking, although semen may be the farthest thing from your mind, according to “Natural Harvest-A Collection of Semen-Based Recipes,” semen is very nutritious. The cook book advertises semen as an “inexpensive” ingredient that can give any food an “interesting twist.”

Lastly, if by any chance you are in dire need of invisible ink, semen may suffice. During World War I, the British Intelligence Service discovered semen can act as invisible ink. Unlike other chemicals used, semen did not react to means of detection such as iodine vapor.

Unless you are a part of an intelligence serve of some kind, invisible ink may not be essential, however if you ever need a facial Spermine may be a great option

Extraordinary Things You Can Do With Sperm


Sperm is one of the vital components when planning to start a family. Like a women’s egg, a man’s sperm must be healthy in order to reach and penetrate the egg.  Though sperm is mainly used for procreation, it can have extraordinary benefits for everyday life.

In sperm, a crystalline polyamine compound called Spermine can be found. This particular compound is also known as an antioxidant. It is believed to diminish wrinkles, smooth skin and help with taming or preventing acne. Bioforskning, a Norwegian company, has synthesized the compounds into a facial cream.  According to Bioforskning, the cream Spermine is 30 times more effective than vitamin E and can delay the aging process by 20 percent. However, nature’s most natural facial cream can cost you a whopping $250.

Not only can sperm provide healthy skin, but also it can be used as an anti-depressant. In a recent study, researchers demonstrated that women who were directly exposed to semen were less likely to be depressed. The study stated mood-altering hormones that are present in semen can be absorbed through the vagina. Some of these mood-altering chemicals include, but are not limited to prolactin, a natural anti-depressant; oxytocin, which assist in enhancing one’s mood and serotonin, a widely known antidepressant neurotransmitter.

Sperm is also directly linked to the frequency and intensity of a woman’s morning sickness. According to SUNY-Albany psychologist Gordon Gallup, the frequency of morning sickness is directly related to the frequency of insemination during pregnancy.  Gallup and graduate student Jeremy Atkinson revealed women who undergo artificial insemination may experience worst cases of vomiting, and nausea.

When it comes to cooking, although semen may be the farthest thing from your mind, according to “Natural Harvest-A Collection of Semen-Based Recipes,” semen is very nutritious. The cook book advertises semen as an “inexpensive” ingredient that can give any food an “interesting twist.”

Lastly, if by any chance you are in dire need of invisible ink, semen may suffice. During World War I, the British Intelligence Service discovered semen can act as invisible ink. Unlike other chemicals used, semen did not react to means of detection such as iodine vapor.

Unless you are a part of an intelligence serve of some kind, invisible ink may not be essential, however if you ever need a facial Spermine may be a great option.

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