Researchers report major breakthroughs on the control of sperm production.
A team of U.S. researchers has discovered a compound that should allow to develop a male birth control pill. The substance would be found capable of preventing sperm production, without disrupting the production of male hormones.
Tests on mice
After years of headaches, U.S. researchers have in fact successfully tested a small molecule JQ1 on mice. "We believe that our findings can be completely transposed to humans, offering an innovative and effective male contraception," the researchers said.
"The substance produces a rapid and reversible decrease in the number and sperm motility, with decisive effects on fertility," said James Bradner, Cancer Institute Dana-Farber in Boston. In other words: a contraceptive pill for men.
Stop sperm production
The development of a male pill is facing various difficulties. Also very hesitantly, men asked for such a product, the main problem is that the testicles have a dual function of sperm production, but also of male hormones. These hormones are responsible for masculine characteristics, such as voice or body hair. The issue of male contraceptive is to stop sperm production without stopping the male hormones.
After trials of treatments abandoned because of side effects, researchers have turned to various substances. The idea was not to stop sperm production but to ensure that they can not fertilize the oocyte.
No secondary effects
According to American researchers, daily injections of the molecule JQ1 for six weeks, resulted in a total contraceptive effect in male mice. After stopping treatment, fertility returned to normal after an average of three to six months depending on the doses, no side effects on testosterone levels in animals. No abnormal phenotype was observed to date in the offspring of mice.
This discovery was made by chance. The inhibitor JQ1 was originally developed in an attempt to treat a particularly virulent type of squamous cell carcinoma, said Matthew Martin Matzuk, one of the co-authors of the study.