06 April 2009

Male contraception: it is necessary to relax the tail

The sperm is grabbed by the tailPyotr Smirnov, "Newspaper.

A rare mutation found in Iranians can give men all over the planet a safe contraceptive in pills. Scientists have found out how to reduce sperm motility at the moment of "screwing" into the egg. Since this pharmacological niche is not filled at all now, the firstborn is in any case waiting for a resounding success.

For one–time sexual contacts, the optimal, but not absolutely reliable option is a condom that will protect both from a "bouquet" and from "flowers". In the same couples who are already ready to move to a new level of relations, the decision in the absolute majority of cases has to be made by girls – to calculate the corresponding days on the calendar or to take hormonal contraceptives. Since the latter, with all the perfection of technology, still affect women's health, the search for new and improvement of old drugs is very important, and very profitable for pharmaceutical companies.

There is another option – to shift the care to strong male shoulders, but there are few alternatives here. The only option is the ligation of the vas deferens – both quickly and effectively, but it is not possible to restore the lost ability to fertilize in about every seventh case.

It is also possible to hormonally suppress the synthesis of spermatozoa, but this will inevitably affect the quality of sexual life, and the corresponding drugs, despite repeated promises, do not materialize in the form of pills approved by regulatory authorities. There were even proposals to insert a radio-controlled valve into the ducts, but for some reason nothing has been heard about this method for a long time.

Nevertheless, drugs may soon appear that will deprive spermatozoa of their main advantage – speed.

The weak point of male germ cells was discovered by Richard Smith from the University of the American State of Iowa and his colleagues, who identified a mutation that deprives male germ cells of mobility. Scientists stumbled upon this phenomenon by chance when they were studying inherited deafness in Tehran. We have yet to hear proposals to combat hearing problems, but scientists described how to cope with sperm cells in a publication in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

In total, 2 mutations leading to infertility were found in Iranians, and both of them were localized in the gene encoding the CATSPER1 protein. This protein is part of the ion channel that launches calcium ions into the cell. As a result, the tail of the sperm begins to beat with increased energy. Similarly, the male germ cell is excited twice: the first time when it enters the female genital tract, and the second time when it merges with the egg.

The aforementioned CATSPER1 plays a key role in the second case. In the absence of this protein, the sperm simply does not have the strength, speed and mobility to fertilize an egg. Smith and his colleagues propose to cause the same condition artificially by blocking calcium channels with the help of medications.

And their choice is rather big even among the already used pharmacological agents. The fact is that calcium plays the same activating role in other muscle cells, especially in those that line our vessels and are able to reduce the lumen during contraction, increasing blood pressure. Calcium blockers, such as verapamil, lead to cell relaxation, vasodilation and pressure reduction.

However, do not think that pressure pills will also be an effective oral contraceptive for men. Firstly, it is not a fact that known substances will be able to bind strongly to the sperm channels, and secondly, in order to create the necessary concentration of the drug in the female genital tract, girls will still have to take it.

But work in this direction will still be continued: after all, such a drug that does not yet exist will have the main advantage – the reversibility of the effect, unattainable when blocking the vas deferens. And the stronger sex will certainly not stand for the price.

Portal "Eternal youth" www.vechnayamolodost.ru06.04.2009

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