The Effects of Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on DNA Methylation and MicroRNA Profiles in Bovine Granulosa Cells

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University of Guelph

Abstract

This thesis investigates the effects of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on DNA methylation and microRNA expression in bovine granulosa cells. With the rise in cannabis use amongst women of reproductive age, and THC’s ability to interact with the female reproductive system, it is critical to understand the role of THC on female fertility. Epigenetic mechanisms are key in mediating reproductive processes that are crucial in proper follicular development. This study hypothesized that THC would alter epigenetic mechanisms, ultimately compromising oocyte competency. Using bovine as a translational model for human reproduction, methylation and microRNA expression were assessed in response to THC, at concentrations mimicking plasma concentrations in therapeutic and recreational cannabis users. Findings from this study suggest THC alters DNA methylation, but not microRNA profiles, subsequently changing gene expression, likely affecting oocyte competency and ultimately fertility.

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Cannabis, THC, Granulosa Cells, Fertility, DNA Methylation, MicroRNAs

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