F5-peptide enhances the efficacy of the non-hormonal male contraceptive adjudin
Objective: The bioavailability of the non-hormonal male contraceptive adjudin is low in rats due to the blood-testis barrier (BTB). This study was designed to examine if F5-peptide, an endogenously produced reversible BTB modifier, could enhance the bioavailability of adjudin to affect spermatogenesis and provide a contraceptive effect in rats while reducing systemic toxicity. Study Design: We overexpressed F5-peptide in adult male rats (n=10 rats; with 3 or 4 rats for each of the three different experiments noted in the three regimens) by intratesticular injection of a mammalian expression vector pCI-neo (pCI-neo/F5-peptide) vs. empty vector alone (pCI-neo/Ctrl) to be followed by treatment with adjudin by oral gavage at a dose of 10 or 20 mg/kg. The status of spermatogenesis was assessed by histological analysis and dual-labeled immunofluorescence analysis on Day 16. To assess fertility, we allowed treated males (n=3–4 rats) to mate with mature female rats (n=3–4) individually, and assessed the number of pups on Days 23, 36 and 82 to assess fertility and reversibility. Results: All 4 treated rats overexpressed with F5-peptide and low-dose adjudin were infertile by Day 36, and half of these rats were fertile by Day 82, illustrating reversibility. However, overexpression of F5-peptide alone (or low-dose adjudin alone) had no effects on fertility in n=3 rats. These findings were consistent with the histology data that illustrated the BTB modifier F5-peptide promoted the action of adjudin to induce germ cell exfoliation, mediated by changes in cytoskeletal organization of F-actin and microtubules across the epithelium, thereby reducing the systemic toxicity of adjudin. Conclusion: In this proof-of-concept study, it was shown that overexpression of the F5-peptide prior to administration of adjudin to rats at a low (and ineffective dose by itself) was found to induce reversible male infertility. Implications: Overexpression of F5-peptide, an endogenously produced biomolecule in the testis known to induce BTB remodeling, enhanced the contraceptive effect of adjudin in rats, supporting proof of concept studies of BTB disrupters in men.
Chen, Haiqi, Dolores D. Mruk, Chris K.C. Wong, Bruno Silvestrini, and C. Yan Cheng. 2019. "F5-peptide enhances the efficacy of the non-hormonal male contraceptive adjudin," Contraception 99(6): 350–356.
Development of Adjudin as a Male Contraceptive