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The efficacy of ultrasound treatment as a reversible male contraceptive in the rhesus monkey

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The use of therapeutic ultrasound as a contraceptive approach has involved nonhuman primates as well as rats and dogs. The current study was undertaken to determine whether this treatment could be a method for reversible contraception, using a model with testes size similar to adult humans. Methods Two methods of ultrasound exposure were used, either the transducer probe at the bottom of a cup filled with saline (Cup) or direct application to the surface of the scrotum (Direct). Four adult rhesus (Macaca mulatta) males with normal semen parameters were treated with therapeutic ultrasound at 2.5 W/cm(2) for 30 min. Treatment was given 3 times, one every other day on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule. For each male, semen quality was evaluated a minimum of three times over several months prior to ultrasound exposure and weekly for two months following ultrasound treatment. Results Semen samples from all males, regardless of exposure method, exhibited a decrease in the percentage of motile sperm following ultrasound treatment. There was an average reduction in motility of 40% the week following treatment. Similarly, curvilinear velocity and the percentage of sperm with a normally shaped flagellum were also reduced in all males following ultrasound treatment. A significant reduction in the total number of sperm in an ejaculate (total sperm count) was only observed in males that received ultrasound via the cup method. Following treatment via the cup method, males exhibited up to a 91.7% decrease in average total sperm count (n = 2). Sperm count did not approach pre-treatment levels until 8 weeks following ultrasound exposure. Conclusions The sustained reduction in sperm count, percent motility, normal morphology, and sperm vigor with the cup exposure method provides proof of principle that testicular treatment with ultrasound can be an effective contraceptive approach in humans.

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Published 01 January 2012
Reads 10
Language English
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VandeVoort and TollnerReproductive Biology and Endocrinology2012,10:81 http://www.rbej.com/content/10/1/81
R E S E A R C H
The efficacy of ultrasound treatment reversible male contraceptive in the rhesus monkey 1,2*2,3Catherine A VandeVoort and Theodore L Tollner
as
a
Open Access
Abstract Background:The use of therapeutic ultrasound as a contraceptive approach has involved nonhuman primates as well as rats and dogs. The current study was undertaken to determine whether this treatment could be a method for reversible contraception, using a model with testes size similar to adult humans. Methods:Two methods of ultrasound exposure were used, either the transducer probe at the bottom of a cup filled with saline (Cup) or direct application to the surface of the scrotum (Direct). Four adult rhesus (Macaca mulatta) males with normal semen parameters were treated with therapeutic ultrasound at 2.5 W/cm(2) for 30 min. Treatment was given 3 times, one every other day on a MondayWednesdayFriday schedule. For each male, semen quality was evaluated a minimum of three times over several months prior to ultrasound exposure and weekly for two months following ultrasound treatment. Results:Semen samples from all males, regardless of exposure method, exhibited a decrease in the percentage of motile sperm following ultrasound treatment. There was an average reduction in motility of 40% the week following treatment. Similarly, curvilinear velocity and the percentage of sperm with a normally shaped flagellum were also reduced in all males following ultrasound treatment. A significant reduction in the total number of sperm in an ejaculate (total sperm count) was only observed in males that received ultrasound via the cup method. Following treatment via the cup method, males exhibited up to a 91.7% decrease in average total sperm count (n = 2). Sperm count did not approach pretreatment levels until 8 weeks following ultrasound exposure. Conclusions:The sustained reduction in sperm count, percent motility, normal morphology, and sperm vigor with the cup exposure method provides proof of principle that testicular treatment with ultrasound can be an effective contraceptive approach in humans. Keywords:Sperm morphology, Motility, Contraception, Testes, Male reproduction
Background Because of the personal, productivity, and societal toll taken by surgery, surgical complications, and the cost of anesthesia, a great need continues to exist for nonsurgi cal methods of fertility control that are satisfactory, af fordable, and consistently available to users. In particular, new methods for men are needed, because
* Correspondence: cavandevoort@ucdavis.edu Equal contributors 1 California National Primate Research Center, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA 2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA Full list of author information is available at the end of the article
currently the only options for men are condoms (which have a high misuse rate and are subject to supply disrup tions in lowincome countries) and vasectomy (which is surgical and generally permanent). Both surgery and a permanent ending of fertility are psychological barriers for many men. We therefore seek to develop nonper manent, nonsurgical methods of contraception for males. Nonsurgical, noninvasive methods would also allow efficient and costeffective use in feral and street populations of animals such as dogs, cats, and monkeys. The research of Dr. Fahim and colleagues showed brief applications of testicular ultrasound waves to be effective at reducing or eliminating sperm in rats, cats, dogs,
© 2012 VandeVoort and Tollner; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.