Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Birth Control Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Protein Clue for Male Contraceptive

Male Mice Lacking a Certain Protein Are Infertile, Lab Tests Show
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD


Nov. 1, 2006 -- The hunt for a male contraceptive pill may have a new target: a protein called Gba2.

Male mice lacking that protein are infertile, scientists report in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Curbing Gba2 might serve as a male contraceptive, the researchers suggest.

They included David Russell, PhD, of the molecular genetics department at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

Russell's team didn't try to make a male contraceptive pill. Instead, they studied male and female mice, some of which lacked the gene that makes Gba2.

The female mice without Gba2 were fertile. But the male mice without that protein were infertile.

Those male mice had sperm with "abnormally large, round heads" that didn't swim very well, the researchers write.

But the researchers still have a lot to learn about Gba2 in people.

Russell's team checked the genes of men whose sperm had the same unusual head shape. Those men, who came from three unrelated families, had no mutations in their Gba2 gene.

That finding may mean that Gba2 isn't always responsible for that particular sperm condition in men, but further studies are needed in other affected men, the researchers note.

Journal editorialists note that male mice have more Gba2 in their testes than men do.

Whether or not blocking Gba2 with a drug would have a contraceptive effect in men "remains an open question," write the editorialists.

They included Martin Matzuk, MD, PhD, a professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

Today on WebMD

IUD
Here's what to expect.
man opening condom wrapper
Do you know the right way to use them?
 
birth control pills
Here's what to do next.
doctor and patient
His and her options.
 
Concerned teenage girl
Slideshow
hospital gown
Quiz
 
Birth Control Pills Weight Gain
Article
pregnancy test and calendar
Article
 
contraceptive pills
Slideshow
Young couple looking at each other, serious
Article
 
woman reading pregnancy test result
Article
calendar
Article