July 03, 2013

Men's Ability to Taste Linked to Fertility?

Image by צביה from Wikipedia
Researchers found that two proteins that govern the ability to taste sweet and savory profoundly influenced sperm development.

This surprising connection between taste and male fertility occurred when the gene encoding the taste receptor proteins TAS1R3 (part of savory taste receptor) and GNAT3 (converts oral taste signal to a nerve signal) were modified in mice allowing for selective knockout with the drug clofibrate.

When these genetically modified mice were given clofibrate leaving the mice without any functional TAS1R3 and GNAT3, the males became sterile due to profoundly reduced sperm counts and malformations.

When clofibrate administration was stopped in these mice, fertility immediately came back.

Of note, clofibrate is a common drug prescribed to treat high cholesterol.

And it does potentially suggest that such cholesterol drugs may adversely influence human male fertility... as well as potentially lead to a safe and effective non-hormonal male contraceptive.

Genetic loss or pharmacological blockade of testes-expressed taste genes causes male sterility. Published online before print July 1, 2013, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1302827110 PNAS July 1, 2013
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Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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