Myeloperoxidase inhibitor AZD5904 enhances human sperm function in vitro

M. J. Campbell, I. E. Sucquart, A. Whittaker, H. J. Sanganee, C. L. R. Barratt, S. J. Martins da Silva (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
413 Downloads (Pure)


Study Question: Does AZD5904, a myeloperoxidase inhibitor (MPOi), have any effect on human sperm function in vitro?

Summary Answer: AZD5904 improves sperm function in an in vitro model of oxidative stress (OS) and potentially offers a novel treatment approach for male infertility.

What is Known Already: Male infertility is an underlying or contributory cause in half of all couples experiencing difficulties conceiving, yet there is currently no effective treatment or cure. OS is a common pathology in a significant proportion of infertile men. It can negatively affect sperm motility and the ability to fertilize a mature oocyte, as well as DNA integrity, and therefore represents an attractive target for therapeutic intervention.

Study Design, Size, Duration: This study included population-based samples from men (23-50 years) attending Ninewells Assisted Conception Unit, Dundee for diagnostic semen analysis, July 2017-September 2018. Semen samples (n = 47) from 45 patients were used.

Participants/Materials, Setting, Methods: Neutrophils activated using zymosan were incubated with prepared human spermatozoa for 2 h (T2) and 24 h (T24) to create an in vitro model of OS. Parallel samples were co-incubated with AZD5904, an MPOi, to examine its effects. Sperm motility was assessed by computer-assisted sperm analysis at T2 and T24. Functional motility was assessed by sperm penetration assay. Statistical analysis was performed using GraphPad Prism.

Main Results and the Role of Chance: There was no significant difference in total or progressive sperm motility between any treatment and control groups at T2 or T24. Nonetheless, significant positive effects on sperm function were observed with AZD5904, with 16/45 (35.6%) samples (with both normal and abnormal baseline semen analysis characteristics) displaying a ≥20% increase in sperm penetrated through viscous media (P < 0.003).

Limitations, Reasons for Caution: This was an in vitro study.

Wider Implications of the Findings: Treatment with AZD5904 resulted in significant increased sperm penetration in one of three samples treated, which is likely to represent improvement in sperm function required for fertilization. We are now planning a clinical trial to validate these results and hope that this could represent a new treatment for male infertility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)560-570
Number of pages11
JournalHuman Reproduction
Issue number3
Early online date4 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • male infertility
  • myeloperoxidase inhibitor
  • oxidative stress
  • sperm
  • sperm function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Reproductive Medicine


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