Contraceptives for Either Sex in Offing

Newer contraceptive may target sperm movement to the site of fertilization.

Amplify’d from www.smartplanet.com

Sperm tails reveal clue to non-hormonal contraceptives for either sex

Scientists know that cells surrounding an egg awaiting fertilization in the fallopian tubes releases progesterone – a female sex hormone. Somehow, it guides sperm toward the egg. It even causes sperm to whip their tails more forcibly – something called hyperactivity – which frantically propels them through the thick jelly coating of eggs.

Now, two teams – from the University of California San Francisco and from Germany – independently show that progesterone activates a protein known as CatSper.

In humans, CatSper is a channel that ferries calcium ions in and out of sperm. With progesterone, it rapidly inundates sperm with calcium ions. But sperm without CatSper can’t become hyperactive.

Once researchers have located where progesterone binds to the CatSper channel, she adds, they can look for molecules that would block this interaction, rendering sperm sterile.

Read more at www.smartplanet.com

 

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