For decades, scientists have searched for a male contraceptive that did not lead to long-term effects on male fertility. "Most strategies have focused on hormonal or germ-line strategies to produce dysfunctional sperm that are incapable of fertilization but they often interfere with male sexual activity and cause long-term irreversible effects on fertility,” co-lead researcher Dr. Ventura at Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences said.
Researchers at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Australia say they have discovered a male contraceptive target within a control system that affects an individual’s sexual arousal and other functions called the autonomic nervous system. This target has the ability to block the transport of sperm during ejaculation.
Published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, USA,the researchers, using a mouse model, have identified two proteins, α1A-adrenoceptor and P2X1-purinoceptor, on the smooth muscle cells that are associated with the transport of sperm.
Dr. Ventura also added that a drug that blocks one of the two proteins is already available; however, there is still a search for a chemical that blocks the second protein. This could lead to a male contraceptive pill in ten years, if successful.
Researchers from University of Melbourne and the University of Leicester, UK, collaborated on the study.