A new study identified proteins found in mouse and human sperm that could be promising drug targets for male contraception.
Sperm motility is important for migration into the female reproductive tract and egg fertilization. A recent study published in Science identified proteins found in mouse and human sperm that function in sperm motility. In animal experiments, mice lacking these proteins were capable of mating but were infertile due to impaired sperm motility.
Cyclosporine A is a drug used to prevent organ rejection in patients who have received an organ transplant. This study demonstrated that cyclosporine A could also be used to target sperm proteins involved in motility. Treatment of male mice with cyclosporine A for two weeks resulted in infertility. Defective sperm were observed as early as 5 days after drug administration. This treatment was reversible as mice fully recovered within one week after stopping drug treatment.
This study gave promising results that could be used for the identification of drugs that target sperm motility and for the development of fast-acting and reversible human male contraceptives.
Miyata H, Satouh Y, Mashiko D, Muto M, Nozawa K, Shiba K, Fujihara Y, Isotani A, Inaba K, Ikawa M. Sperm calcineurin inhibition prevents mouse fertility with implications for male contraceptive. Science. Published online on 1 October 2015; 350(6259): 442-445. DOI: 10.1126/science.aad0836
Written by Ana Victoria Pilar, PhD