Recently, we have investigated the endocannabinoid involvement in chromatin remodeling events occurring in male spermatids. Indeed, we have demonstrated that genetic inactivation of the cannabinoid receptor type 1 (Cnr1) negatively influences chromatin remodeling mechanisms, by reducing histone displacement and indices of sperm chromatin quality (chromatin condensation and DNA integrity). Conversely, Cnr1 knock-out (Cnr1-/-) male mice, treated with estrogens, replaced histones and rescued chromatin condensation as well as DNA integrity. In the present study, by exploiting Cnr1+/+, Cnr+/- and Cnr1-/- epididymal sperm samples, we show that histone retention directly correlates with low values of sperm chromatin quality indices determining sperm nuclear size elongation. Moreover, we demonstrate that estrogens, by promoting histone displacement and chromatin condensation rescue, are able to efficiently reduce the greater nuclear length observed in Cnr1-/- sperm. As a consequence of our results, we suggest that nucleus length may be used as a morphological parameter useful to screen out spermatozoa with low chromatin quality.
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