an advance toward a long-sought new male contraceptive, researchers in
China have identified key proteins in men that suppress production of
sperm and could become new targets for a future male birth control
pill. Their study is scheduled for the October 3 issue of ACS’ monthly Journal of Proteome Research.
Jiahao Sha and colleagues point out that scientists do not understand
one effect of the male sex hormone, testosterone — how injections of
the hormone suppress production of sperm. Building on a previous study
showing almost total sperm suppression with an injectable testosterone
combined with a synthetic hormone called levonorgestrel (LNG), the
researchers sought new insights into how hormones affect
sperm-producing cells in the testicles.
In a new study on men, they found that testosterone combined with LNG
changed the body’s production of 31 proteins compared to only 13
proteins for men given only testosterone. The scientists identified
proteins that could serve as both targets for new male contraceptives
as well as medications for treating infertility.
News release from The American Chemical Society on September 17, 2008.