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In vitro assessment of some sperm function following exposure to levonorgestrel in human fallopian tubes

DOI: 10.1186/1477-7827-10-8

Keywords: Emergency contraception, Levonorgestrel, Acrosome reaction, Fallopian tubes, Human spermatozoa

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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.Levonorgestrel (LNG) is a progestin used in emergency contraception (EC). The currently recommended LNG dose consists of two 0.75 mg pills taken 12 h apart or one dose of 1.5 mg up to 72 h after unprotected sexual intercourse [1,2]. Despite the disseminated use of LNG as EC worldwide, its mechanism of action remains under debate and may involve several mechanisms that are dependent on the time of administration in relation to sexual intercourse and on the phase of the menstrual cycle in which it is taken [3,4].One of the proposed mechanisms of action concerns the effect of LNG on spermatozoa and their functions [5-8]. However, this effect is still poorly understood. Progesterone (P) promotes changes in aspects of sperm function related to fertilization such as capacitatio


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