In 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.
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.
- Cui et al. Proteomic Analysis of Testis Biopsies in Men Treated with Injectable Testosterone Undecanoate Alone or in Combination with Oral Levonorgestrel as Potential Male Contraceptive. Journal of Proteome Research, 2008; 7 (9): 3984 DOI: 10.1021/pr800259t
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