Endocannabinoids and reproductive endocrinology

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol mimic Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical component responsible for the psychoactive properties of Cannabis sativa, by binding to both type 1 and type 2 cannabinoid receptors. Endocannabinoids exert several actions, both centrally and peripherally, and are synthesized or hydrolyzed by specific enzymes. In this review, the elements that constitute the endocannabinoid system (ECS) are described, with the aim of describing their interplay with other components of reproductive endocrinology, both in females and males. In particular, the interaction of the ECS with sex hormones and cytokines,1 generating an endocannabinoid/hormone/cytokine array responsible for the control of human fertility, is discussed. The data for endocannabinoids suggest that these molecules can be proposed as novel lipid hormones (lipokines) that are critically involved in reproductive events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-310
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Investigational Drugs
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009



  • Fatty acid amide hydrolase
  • Interleukin
  • Leptin
  • Leukemia inhibitory factor
  • Lipokine
  • Sex hormone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery
  • Pharmacology

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