Stopping Sperm in Their Tracks

November 16, 2004 -- An enzyme in sperm has been discovered to be essential for sperm movement. Mice without this enzyme produce sperm that cannot swim toward eggs to fertilize them.

The enzyme is called GAPDS, short for glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase-S.

GAPDS provides a tempting target for drugmakers since a drug that can block the enzyme could be a new form of male contraception. With it, males could go on the pill, too.

Barbara K. Hecht, Ph.D.
Frederick Hecht, M.D.
Medical Editors, MedicineNet.com

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Enzyme Essential To Sperm Movement Provides Target for New Contraceptive Approach

A team of researchers has determined that an enzyme in sperm is necessary for sperm movement. Mice bred to lack this enzyme produce sperm that cannot swim toward egg cells to fertilize them.

The enzyme, known as GAPDS, is essentially the same as an enzyme produced in human sperm. The researchers believe that designing a drug to disable the enzyme might provide the basis for an effective new form of male contraception. Similarly, an understanding of the enzyme and related chemical reactions might lead to insights into treatment for some forms of male infertility.