Endocannabinoid-binding CB1 and TRPV1 receptors as modulators of sperm capacitation

Nicola Bernabò, Paola Palestini, Marco Chiarini, Mauro Maccarrone, Mauro Mattioli, Barbara Barboni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Mammalian spermatozoa reach the ability to fertilize only after they complete a complex series of physicalchemical modification, the capacitation. Recently, the endocannabinoid-binding type-1cannabinoid receptor (CB1) and transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) channel have been proposed to play a key role in the control of capacitation. In particular CB1, acting via a Gi protein/cAMP/PKA pathway, maintains low cAMP levels in early stages of post ejaculatory life of male gametes. By this way it promotes the maintenance of membrane stability, thus avoiding the premature fusion of plasma membrane (PM) and outer acrosome membrane (OAM), which is mandatory for the exocytosis of acrosome content. TRPV1, on the contrary, becomes active during the latest stages of capacitation, and allows the rapid increase in intracellular calcium concentration that leads to the removal of the F-actin network interposed between PM and OAM, leading to their fusion and, ultimately, to the acrosome reaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-70
Number of pages3
JournalCommunicative and Integrative Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012


  • Capacitation
  • Endocannabinoid system
  • Spermatozoa
  • Transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1)
  • Type-1cannabinoid receptor (CB)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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