African arrow poison could become a male contraceptive

African arrow poison could become a male contraceptive


Researchers from the universities of Minnesota and Kansas believe that the substance is ouabain could be the basis for pharmacological male contraception. Ouabain contained in the leaves, roots and stems of one of the shrubs growing in Africa. It is commonly used by the African hunters as a poison with which they smear their arrows. Once in the body of an animal, a substance that stops his heart.

In the eighteenth century found that small doses of ouabain used to treat hypotension and arrhythmias. And four years ago scientists found that the toxin reduces the activity of sperm and blocks the ability of fertilization. Then the substance did not test it as a contraceptive because of its effects on the heart, but now us chemists claim that were able to modify the toxin so that it does not affect the heart, but the rest of its properties are retained in full.

Researchers removed a group of sugars of the molecule ouabain and replaced lactone group on the triazole. The resulting modification affects only the flagella of the sperm, reducing their mobility, leading to temporary infertility.

Now scientists are occupied by research of a modified ouabain, so soon the emergence of new contraceptives in the sale should be expected.