Researchers discover a safe, effective, and reversible male contraceptive
In a new article published by Nature Communications, Lundquist Institute (TLI) researcher Dr. med. Wei Yan, and his fellow researchers developed an innovative strategy that led to the discovery of a natural link as a safe, effective, and reversible male contraceptive in preclinical animal models.
Despite tremendous efforts over the past few decades, advances in the development of non-hormonal male contraceptives have been very limited.
The compound is triptonide, which can either be purified from a Chinese herb called Tripterygium Wilfordii Hook F or made by chemical synthesis.
Single daily oral doses of triptonide induce altered sperm with minimal or no forward motility with nearly 100% penetrance and consequent male infertility for 3-4 and 5-6 weeks.
Once treatment is stopped, the males will be fertile again in about 4-6 weeks and can produce healthy offspring. No recognizable toxic effects were found either with short or long-term triptonide treatment.
All of their data suggest that triptonide is a promising non-hormonal male contraceptive for men as it appears to meet all of the criteria for a viable contraceptive candidate, including bioavailability, effectiveness, reversibility, and safety.
A number of biochemical analyzes suggest that triptonide targets one of the final steps during sperm assembly, resulting in the production of altered sperm without the need for strong motility for fertilization.
Thanks to decades of basic research that inspired us to come up with the idea that a compound that targets a protein critical to the final steps of sperm assembly would result in the production of non-functioning sperm without the testicular cells becoming severely depleted . “
Wei Yan, MD, PhD, Study Researcher, The Lundquist Institute (TLI)
“We are very pleased that the new idea has worked and that this compound appears to be an ideal contraceptive for men. Our results with non-harmful studies in lower primates suggest that triptonide will also be an effective treatment for human males. Hopefully we will be. ” will soon be able to begin human clinical trials to make the non-hormonal male contraceptive a reality. “
“Dr. Yan’s discovery is a huge step forward in this area,” said Dr. Christina Wang and Ronald Swerdloff, who are TLI Co-Principal Investigators, helping lead NIH-supported advanced clinical trials on hormone-based contraceptive approaches. “The more contraceptive methods available, the better, as we want a family of medicines to safely and effectively meet the family planning needs of men and couples at different stages of their reproductive lives with different ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds and economic backgrounds.” emphasized Wang and Swerdloff.
Chang, Z. et al. (2021) Triptonide is a reversible non-hormonal male contraceptive in mice and non-human primates. Nature communication. doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-21517-5.