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Safety of multiple administrations of spermicidal LL-37 antimicrobial peptide into the mouse female reproductive tract

We have previously demonstrated spermicidal activity of LL-37 antimicrobial peptide on mouse/human sperm and its contraceptive effects in female mice. With its microbicidal action against Neisseria gonorrhoeae, LL-37 warrants development into a multipurpose prevention technology (MPT) agent for administering into the female reproductive tract (FRT). However, it is important to verify that multiple administrations of LL-37 do not lead to damage of FRT tissues and/or irreversible loss of fecundity. Herein, we transcervically injected LL-37 (36 µM–10× spermicidal dose) into female mice in estrus in three consecutive estrous cycles. A set of mice were sacrificed for histological assessment of the vagina/cervix/uterus 24 h after the last injection, while the second set were artificially inseminated with sperm from fertile males 1 week afterwards, and then monitored for pregnancy. Mice injected with PBS in parallel were regarded as negative controls, whereas those injected with vaginal contraceptive foam (VCF, available over the counter), containing 12.5% nonoxynol-9, served as positive controls for vaginal epithelium disruption. We demonstrated that the vagina/cervix/uterus remained normal in both LL-37-injected and PBS-injected mice, which also showed 100% resumption of fecundity. In contrast, VCF-injected mice showed histological abnormalities in the vagina/cervix/uterus and only 50% of them resumed fecundity. Similarly, LL-37 multiply administered intravaginally caused no damage to FRT tissues. While our results indicate the safety of multiple treatments of LL-37 in the mouse model, similar studies have to be conducted in non-human primates and then humans. Regardless, our study provides an experimental model for studying in vivo safety of other vaginal MPT/spermicide candidates.

June 2023

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Database
Journal Article
Journal Article
MPT Articles
MPT Article
Resource

Citation:

We have previously demonstrated spermicidal activity of LL-37 antimicrobial peptide on mouse/human sperm and its contraceptive effects in female mice. With its microbicidal action against Neisseria gonorrhoeae, LL-37 warrants development into a multipurpose prevention technology (MPT) agent for administering into the female reproductive tract (FRT). However, it is important to verify that multiple administrations of LL-37 do not lead to damage of FRT tissues and/or irreversible loss of fecundity. Herein, we transcervically injected LL-37 (36 µM–10× spermicidal dose) into female mice in estrus in three consecutive estrous cycles. A set of mice were sacrificed for histological assessment of the vagina/cervix/uterus 24 h after the last injection, while the second set were artificially inseminated with sperm from fertile males 1 week afterwards, and then monitored for pregnancy. Mice injected with PBS in parallel were regarded as negative controls, whereas those injected with vaginal contraceptive foam (VCF, available over the counter), containing 12.5% nonoxynol-9, served as positive controls for vaginal epithelium disruption. We demonstrated that the vagina/cervix/uterus remained normal in both LL-37-injected and PBS-injected mice, which also showed 100% resumption of fecundity. In contrast, VCF-injected mice showed histological abnormalities in the vagina/cervix/uterus and only 50% of them resumed fecundity. Similarly, LL-37 multiply administered intravaginally caused no damage to FRT tissues. While our results indicate the safety of multiple treatments of LL-37 in the mouse model, similar studies have to be conducted in non-human primates and then humans. Regardless, our study provides an experimental model for studying in vivo safety of other vaginal MPT/spermicide candidates.

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Authors: Lee, S.G., Kiattiburut, W., Burke Schinkel, S.C., Angel, J. and Tanphaichitr, N.

Health Risks(s):

  • Gonorrhea
  • STI / STD
  • Unintended Pregnancy

Product type(s):

  • Contraceptives
  • Injectables
  • Microbicide
  • MPTs

Topic(s):

  • DrugInteractions
  • MPTs
  • Development
  • Reproductive Health

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