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Biol Reprod. 2004 Jul;71(1):348-58. Epub 2004 Mar 24.

The ability of a gonadotropin-releasing hormone antagonist, acyline, to prevent irreversible infertility induced by the indenopyridine, CDB-4022, in adult male rats: the role of testosterone.

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  • 1BIOQUAL, Inc., Rockville, Maryland 20850, USA.


Intratesticular testosterone (ITT) is known to play a critical role in the maintenance of spermatogenesis. We have used acyline, a GnRH antagonist, to suppress testosterone (T) production, and acyline and T implants to study the prevention of irreversible infertility induced by CDB-4022. Vehicle or acyline was administered to proven fertile male rats (n = 5/group) at a dose (210 microg/day) that completely suppressed (P < 0.05) T production, as measured by serum T, and testicular function, either before, concurrent with, or after vehicle or a single oral dose of 2.5 mg CDB-4022/kg (Week 0). Vehicle-treated males remained fertile, whereas acyline-treated males exhibited transitory infertility. CDB-4022 alone caused irreversible infertility in all males. Importantly, CDB-4022-treated males recovered fertility when acyline was started before CDB-4022 (Weeks -4 to 0; Weeks -4-9), but not when acyline was administered concurrently with or after CDB-4022 (Weeks 0-9; Weeks 10-19). At the end of this study (Week 34), testes weights, spermatid head counts (SHC), and tubule differentiation indices (TDI) were suppressed (P < 0.05) in infertile CDB-4022-treated males, but in rats that recovered fertility, these parameters were similar (P > 0.05) to those in vehicle-treated males. In addition, serum inhibin B and epididymal androgen-binding protein levels were nondetectable in infertile CDB-4022-treated rats. To test whether suppression of ITT was critical for prevention of CDB-4022-induced infertility, proven fertile rats (n = 7-8/group) received vehicle, acyline alone, or acyline and a T implant for 4 wk before CDB-4022 (Week 0). The T implant increased ITT in acyline-treated rats. Although ITT was lower (P < 0.05) in the T-implanted males than in untreated rats, it was sufficient to sustain spermiogenesis. Serum rFSH levels were also elevated in rats treated with acyline + T as compared with acyline alone during the treatment interval, but rFSH was still lower than in vehicle-treated rats. Rats in all treatment groups were rendered infertile initially, but the acyline + CDB-4022-treated rats recovered fertility by Week 10. In contrast, rats treated with CDB-4022 alone or acyline + T + CDB-4022 remained infertile until at least Week 16. Testes weights, SHC, and TDI were within normal ranges for acyline + CDB-4022-treated rats, but were decreased (P < 0.05) in CDB-4022- or acyline + T + CDB-4022-treated rats. Serum inhibin B levels were nondetectable by Week 1 in males rendered irreversibly infertile by CDB-4022; levels increased transiently and returned to baseline in rats protected by acyline pretreatment. These data indicate that pretreatment with acyline was able to prevent irreversible infertility in CDB-4022-treated rats, whereas posttreatment with acyline did not promote spermatogonial differentiation, as has been observed by others in rats that received GnRH analogs and various other testicular toxicants. Suppression of ITT and possibly rFSH by acyline appeared to be crucial in preventing irreversible infertility induced by CDB-4022. In this regard, our results are similar to those of investigators who have studied other testicular toxicants. Continued development of CDB-4022 as a potential male contraceptive will depend largely on its safety profile and whether its antispermatogenic activity is reversible in primates.

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