The effects of levonorgestrel on various sperm functions.
ABSTRACT Two doses of 750-microg levonorgestrel at 12 h apart is one of the regimens for emergency contraception. The mechanism of action of this regimen is not fully known. We investigated whether levonorgestrel influences sperm functions and thereby, exerts contraceptive activity. The motility, acrosome reaction, zona binding capacity, and oocyte fusion capacity of human spermatozoa treated with 1, 10, and 100 ng/mL levonorgestrel for 3 h were evaluated. Levonorgestrel decreased the curvilinear velocity of the treated spermatozoa in a dose-dependent manner. A significant decrease in straight-line velocity, average path velocity and linearity were also found with 100 ng/mL levonorgestrel treatment. This concentration of levonorgestrel, but not others, also marginally decreased (p = 0.045) the zona binding capacity of the treated spermatozoa. The steroid had no effect on acrosome reaction but had a dose-dependent inhibition on spermatozoa-oocyte fusion. These data show that levonorgestrel affects sperm function only at high concentration and the contribution of these effects to emergency contraception is unlikely to be significant.
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ABSTRACT: An emergency contraceptive method is used after coitus but before pregnancy occurs. The use of emergency contraception is largely under-utilized worldwide. One of the main barriers to widespread use is concern about the mechanism of action. Recently, treatment with either 10 mg mifepristone or 1.5 mg of levonorgestrel has emerged as the most effective hormonal method for emergency contraception with very low side-effects. However, the knowledge of the mechanism of action of mifepristone and levonorgestrel in humans, when used for contraceptive purposes and especially for emergency contraception, remains incomplete. The objective of this review is to summarize available data on the effects of mifepristone and levonorgestrel on female reproductive functions relevant to the emergency use of the compounds. When summarized, available data from studies in humans indicate that the contraceptive effects of both levonorgestrel and mifepristone, when used in single low doses for emergency contraception, involve either blockade or delay of ovulation, due to either prevention or delay of the LH surge, rather than to inhibition of implantation.Human Reproduction Update 06/2004; 10(4):341-8. DOI:10.1093/humupd/dmh027 · 8.66 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services allows the use of an emergency contraceptive for a woman who has been raped, as a defense against her attacker's sperm, provided the drug prevents fertilization and does not act against a conceived human life. Catholic emergency rooms around the country have been pressured to provide Plan B (LNG-EC) to patients seeking help after a sexual assault. Catholic bioethicists have supported the use of this drug based on their interpretation of the scientific literature regarding its mechanism of action. This paper presents a review of the mechanisms of action of LNG-EC when given during the fertile window, showing a high probability that it acts against human life rather than preventing fertilization, and proposes another class of drugs as a possible alternative.The Linacre quarterly 05/2014; 81(2):117-129. DOI:10.1179/2050854914Y.0000000017
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ABSTRACT: The mechanism of action of levonorgestrel (LNG) as emergency contraception (EC) remains a subject of debate and its effect on sperm function has been only partially explained. The aim of this study was to assess whether LNG at a similar dose to those found in serum following oral intake for EC could affect spermatozoa when exposed to human fallopian tubes in vitro. Fifteen mini-laparotomies were performed, the side on which ovulation occurred was recorded, and both tubes were removed and perfused with a suspension containing 1 × 10(6) motile spermatozoa, with or without LNG. Following 4-hour incubation, the tubes were sectioned to separate the isthmus and the ampulla. Each segment was flushed and the material was evaluated to quantify the number of motile sperm, the number of spermatozoa adhering to the oviductal epithelium and the acrosome reaction (AR) rate. The addition of LNG did not significantly alter the number of recovered motile spermatozoa either at the isthmus or at the ampulla, nor did it have any effect on the number of recovered spermatozoa adhered to the human tubal epithelium. Furthermore, LNG did not affect the AR rate. No significant differences were found even when the side on which ovulation occurred was taken into account. In a similar dose to that observed in serum following oral intake for EC, LNG had no effect on the number of motile spermatozoa recovered from the human fallopian tubes in vitro, on their adhesion to the tubal epithelium, distribution or AR rate. The possible effect of LNG as EC on sperm function remains poorly understood.Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology 01/2012; 10:8. DOI:10.1186/1477-7827-10-8 · 2.41 Impact Factor