April 27, 2010
New Requirements For Male Fertility
Two independent groups of researchers have identified distinct roles for two proteins in a family of proteins known as PLA2s as crucial for sperm function and fertility in mice. These data identify proteins that could underlie causes of infertility and provide potential targets for the development of new contraceptive agents and new approaches to treating infertility. In addition, these data provide a caution to those developing drugs that target members of this closely related group of proteins to treat hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and inflammation.
The team of researchers led by Makoto Murakami, at The Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science, Japan, found that sPLA2-III was expressed in a region of the testis known as the proximal epididymal epithelium. Mice lacking this protein had substantially decreased fertility because their sperm did not mature properly. Specifically, the defects in maturation meant that the sperm showed decreased motility and decreased ability to fertilize eggs in vitro.
On the Net:
- Journal of Clinical Investigation
- Article: Group III secreted phospholipase A2 regulates epididymal sperm maturation and fertility in mice
- Article: Group X phospholipase A2 is released during sperm acrosome reaction and controls fertility outcome in mice