Male contraceptive: protein can control sperm

A survey by the Universidade Estadual Paulista (Unesp) suggests possible paths for the development of a male contraceptive. The study was published in the Molecular Human Reproduction journal and reveals that from the Eppin protein, which regulates the ability of sperm to move, it is possible to develop drugs that control the fertility of men.

“It plays a very important role in the control of thematic motility by interacting with other proteins that are now in the semen. And these proteins, when interacting with Eppin, promote fine-tuning of motility, control of motility”, explained the researcher and professor at the Department of Biophysics and Pharmacology at Unesp, Erick José Ramo da Silva.


He said that experiments were carried out in mice to identify two points on the protein that regulate the movement of sperm. According to Silva, antibodies were used to find out which points on the protein are responsible for regulating male reproductive cell movement.

This is because before ejaculation, sperm do not move. So, the study worked on identifying exactly which interaction makes the cells stop before the right moment: “What drives the sperm inward is the ejaculation process itself. Only after a few minutes of ejaculation will the sperm acquire the progressive motility to follow its journey.”

The research sought to understand how proteins keep sperm still and then activate movement. “We study how these proteins interact to understand how they interrupt motility so that we can think of pharmacological strategies, using a compound, an active principle, that could incise this relationship that naturally occurs”, he added about the possibility of developing the contraceptive masculine.

For Silva, the idea would be a contraceptive capable of interrupting the movement of sperm with an almost immediate effect. Research should continue to look for this compound and in collaboration with scientists from England, Portugal and the University of São Paulo (USP), but funding from the pharmaceutical industries is required.

Source: Agência Brasil

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