The small organic molecule mPTX has been developed by Rajakumara Eerappa’s group from the Department of Biotechnology, IIT Hyderabad; Jagadeesh Prasad Dasappa’s group from Mangalore University; and Guruprasad Kalthur’s group from the Kasturba Medical College, Manipal Academy of Higher Education.
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Their studies have shown that mPTX, a pentoxifylline derivative, is able to increase sperm motility, extend in vitro sperm survival, and improve sperm fertilisation potential, without adversely affecting the development of the embryos at much lower concentration compared to the widely used pharmacological agent — pentoxifylline in IVF technology.
Compared to the existing drugs, the mPTX molecule is potentially a better pharmacological agent for assisted reproductive technology.
Rajakumara Eerappa, Associate Professor, Department of Biotechnology, IIT-H, said, “Our multi-institutional collaborative team is coming up with a formulation, using the combination of this mPTX and other molecules, that could be more effective than the existing formulation for the IVF procedure.”
With an estimated 48 million infertile couples worldwide, reduction in sperm motility is one of the major causes of male infertility. Motility is essential for sperms to reach the site of fertilisation during natural conception. Moreover, the percentage of motile spermatozoa present in ejaculation helps decide the ideal artificial insemination method such as IVF for infertility treatment.
Pentoxifylline treatment increases sperm motility which goes hand in glove with the undesirable premature acrosomal reaction, which together determines the success of IVF. The purpose of this DST-SERB funded project was to improve the efficacy of pentoxifylline and to reduce its adverse effects on sperms competence and embryo development.
Speaking on the technological advancement, B.S. Murty, Director of IIT Hyderabad, said, “The joy of parenthood can’t be defined in words. The work led by Rajakumara Eerappa and his collaborators can bring the happiness of being parents in the infertile couples, by increasing the success rate of IVF.
“IIT-H is a one of its kind institute to have both biomedical and biotechnology departments separately nurturing the talents. This also demonstrates the power of synergistic collaborations. I am confident that many such technologies significantly impacting the society will keep getting developed at IIT-H continuously.”