The endocannabinoid pathway and the female reproductive organs

    1. Davide Gentilini
    1. Molecular Biology Laboratory, Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Via Zucchi 18, 20095 Cusano Milanino, Milano, Italy
      1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Milano, Milano, Italy
    1. (Correspondence should be addressed to A M Di Blasio; Email: a.diblasio{at}


    Endocannabinoids are endogenous ligands of cannabinoid, vanilloid and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors that activate multiple signal transduction pathways. Together with their receptor and the enzymes responsible for their synthesis and degradation, these compounds constitute the endocannabinoid system that has been recently shown to play, in humans, an important role in modulating several central and peripheral functions including reproduction. Given the relevance of the system, drugs that are able to interfere with the activity of endocannabinoids are currently considered as candidates for the treatment of various diseases. In this review, we will summarise the current knowledge regarding the effects of endocannabinoids in female reproductive organs. In particular, we will focus on some newly reported mechanisms that can affect endometrial plasticity both in physiological and in pathological conditions.

    • Revision received 22 November 2012
    • Accepted 23 November 2012
    • Made available online as an Accepted Preprint 23 November 2012
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