ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 623-630

The preparation and application of N-terminal 57 amino acid protein of the follicle-stimulating hormone receptor as a candidate male contraceptive vaccine


1 State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Medicine, Institute of Toxicology; Key Laboratory of Modern Toxicology of Ministry of Education, School of Public Health, Nanjing, China, China
2 Department of Physiology, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China
3 Yangzhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Yangzhou, China
4 Department of Pharmacology, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing, China

Correspondence Address:
Ai-Hua Gu
State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Medicine, Institute of Toxicology; Key Laboratory of Modern Toxicology of Ministry of Education, School of Public Health, Nanjing, China
China
Xin-Ru Wang
State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Medicine, Institute of Toxicology; Key Laboratory of Modern Toxicology of Ministry of Education, School of Public Health, Nanjing, China
China
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1008-682X.125910

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Follicle-stimulating hormone receptor (FSHR), which is expressed only on Sertoli cells and plays a key role in spermatogenesis, has been paid attention for its potential in male contraception vaccine research and development. This study introduces a method for the preparation and purification of human FSHR 57-amino acid protein (FSHR-57aa) as well as determination of its immunogenicity and antifertility effect. A recombinant pET-28a(+)-FSHR-57aa plasmid was constructed and expressed in Escherichia coli strain BL21 Star TM (DE3) and the FSHR-57aa protein was separated and collected by cutting the gel and recovering activity by efficient refolding dialysis. The protein was identified by Western blot and high-performance liquid chromatography analysis with a band of nearly 7 kDa and a purity of 97.4%. Male monkeys were immunized with rhFSHR-57aa protein and a gradual rising of specific serum IgG antibody was found which reached a plateau on day 112 (16 weeks) after the first immunization. After mating of one male with three female monkeys, the pregnancy rate of those mated with males immunized against FSHR-57aa was significantly decreased while the serum hormone levels of testosterone and estradiol were not disturbed in the control or the FSHR-57aa groups. By evaluating pathological changes in testicular histology, we found that the blood-testis barrier remained intact, in spite of some small damage to Sertoli cells. In conclusion, our study demonstrates that the rhFSHR-57aa protein might be a feasible male contraceptive which could affect sperm production without disturbing hormone levels.


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