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Correlation between male fertility and acrosin-like protease activity in rats treated with spartium junceum

  • J.S. Chen (a1), M.G. Menesini-Chen (a1), D. Giachetti (a1), F. Matteucci (a1), M. Barbetti (a1), C. Sensini (a1) and B. Baccetti (a1)...


Intraperitoneal injections of extracts of Spartium junceum in adult male rats were shown to reduce the rate of fertility and acrosin enzyme activity. For the latter the drug effects could be divided into two phases: in the first stage a significant increase in proteolytic activity was observed in all experimental animals examined; and in the second stage, there was a general decrease of up to 50% in enzyme hydrolytic properties. There is a notable difficulty in correlating the acrosin activity and the data obtained from mating tests. The effect of drugs on the activity of another acrosomal protease, benzamidine-resistant protease, was assayed. A significant decrease in this enyme was noted though the modality was different from that of acrosin. Extrapolating the data of the two co-extracted acrosomal proteases, the ratio of acrosin-like protease [E] and benzamidine-resistant protease [E]x, it was possible to correlate the value expressed to the rate of pregnancy. The implications of this finding is discussed although the exact molecular basis of the phenomenon is uncertain.


Corresponding author

Dr John S. Chen,National Research Council, Centro Studio Cellule Germinali, Via T. Pendola 62, I-53100 Siena, Italy. Telephone: 0039 577 263504. Fax: 0039 577 44474.


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