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Limiting sperm motility for contraception

o found that the sperm from the knockout mice were less motile and showed less directed movement than normal sperm.To find out whether the sperm from the CatSper-knockout mice could still fertilize eggs, the researchers mixed the sperm with eggs whose outer covering, called the zona pellucida, had been removed. They found that the sperm could fertilize the eggs normally, and that the eggs began to develop normally.

“So, the only thing that seems to be wrong in the sperm of these mice is their inability to penetrate the zona pellucida,” said Clapham. “While this is a bit speculative, it might be that this channel is involved in giving sperm’s tail beating a kind of turbo-charge at the last instant, when it needs more power to penetrate the zona pellucida.”Clapham said that a contraceptive based on compounds to block the CatSper channel might have considerable advantages over hormonal contraceptives.

“Hormonal contraceptives have to be taken daily throughout a woman’s fertile life,” he said. Also, they have potential side effects, such as increased risk of blood clotting and cancer.”“If a drug could be designed to block this channel specifically, it could be taken by men or women. And, it would not have to be taken for a very long period to block fertilization, perhaps only just before or after intercourse,” he said.Clapham also pointed out that some forms of male sterility, such as those caused by lack of sperm motility, might be due to defects in the CatSper on channel.


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