Triptonide and disrupting sperm production
A group of scientists from the US and China recently discovered a compound called triptonide, purified from a Chinese herb Tripterygium Wilfordii Hook F, which is said to cause infertility in patients. The researchers found that the compound, upon testing on mice and monkeys, caused sperm to deform and thus not viable for fertilization. The compound also did not prove to be toxic and did not have any side effects.
Triptonide interacts and binds with a protein called Junction Plaglobin (JUP), which is essential in the development of sperm cells. Triptonide disrupts the JUP, resulting in a defect in the final produced sperm cell. This mechanism by triptonide opened up new possibilities in developing male contraceptives.
Instead of suppressing sperm production, disrupting it and creating non-viable sperm may be a novel method in creating future male contraceptive pills. The return to fertility in animal studies is shown to be between 4-6 weeks. This compound is still being tested on mice and it is still not confirmed whether this could be effective and safe for humans.