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International Journal of Endocrinology
Volume 2013, Article ID 501350, 12 pages
Review Article

Estrogens and Spermiogenesis: New Insights from Type 1 Cannabinoid Receptor Knockout Mice

Dipartimento di Medicina Sperimentale, Sez. Bottazzi, Seconda Università di Napoli, Via Costantinopoli 16, 80138 Napoli, Italy

Received 16 August 2013; Accepted 26 September 2013

Academic Editor: Natalia Battista

Copyright © 2013 Giovanna Cacciola et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Spermatogenesis is a complex mechanism which allows the production of male gametes; it consists of mitotic, meiotic, and differentiation phases. Spermiogenesis is the terminal differentiation process during which haploid round spermatids undergo several biochemical and morphological changes, including extensive remodelling of chromatin and nuclear shape. Spermiogenesis is under control of endocrine, paracrine, and autocrine factors, like gonadotropins and testosterone. More recently, emerging pieces of evidence are suggesting that, among these factors, estrogens may have a role. To date, this is a matter of debate and concern because of the agonistic and antagonistic estrogenic effects that environmental chemicals may have on animal and human with damaging outcome on fertility. In this review, we summarize data which fuel this debate, with a particular attention to our recent results, obtained using type 1 cannabinoid receptor knockout male mice as animal model.