Progress made towards male contraceptive pill

Posted by er134 at Dec 04, 2013 01:13 PM |
Study involving Leicester scientist finds dual protein knockout could lead to new male contraceptive
 Progress made towards male contraceptive pill

© Wikimedia Commons

Researchers may have discovered a novel way to block the transport of sperm during ejaculation.

A study by Professor Richard Evans from our Department of Cell Physiology and Pharmacology and colleagues from Monash University and the University of Melbourne, has found that complete male infertility could be achieved by blocking two proteins found on the muscle cells that trigger the transport of sperm.

Published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS), scientists demonstrated that the absence of two proteins in mouse models, α1A-adrenoceptor and P2X1-purinoceptor, which mediate sperm transport, caused infertility, without effects on long-term sexual behavior or function.

Researchers believe the knowledge could be applied to the potential development of a contraceptive pill for men, which if successful, it is hoped could be available within ten years.

The study builds on previous research by Professor Evans that looked at how the P2X1 receptor is “turned on”, and provided the foundation for developing drugs to prevent this activation, which would also be useful in preventing strokes and heart attacks.

Professor Evans said: “The research builds on our previous work that identified a 90% decrease with just blocking P2X1. There are compounds that could potentially be used to block both receptors, and although the P2X1 compounds have not been clinically tested/approved, the research is encouraging.