Evaluation of poly(styrene-4-sulfonate) as a preventive agent for conception and sexually transmitted diseases

R. A. Anderson, K. Feathergill, X. Diao, M. Cooper, R. Kirkpatrick, P. Spear, D. P. Waller, C. Chany, G. F. Doncel, B. Herold, L. J.D. Zaneveld

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58 Scopus citations


A commercial preparation of a sodium polystyrene sulfonate (designated as N-PSS; its molecular weight is 500 000 daltons) was tested as an inhibitor of sperm function and as a preventive agent for conception and the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases. The polymer is an irreversible inhibitor of hyaluronidase and acrosin; its IC50 values are 5.7 μg/mL and 0.5 μg/mL, for hyaluronidase and acrosin, respectively. N-PSS is also a stimulus of human sperm acrosomal loss. It produces maximal acrosomal loss at 2.5 μg/mL. Contraception in rabbits is nearly complete when rabbit spermatozoa are pretreated with 0.5 mg/mL of N-PSS before artificial insemination; however, N-PSS does not immobilize spermatozoa at concentrations as high as 50 mg/mL. N-PSS has broad spectrum antiviral and antibacterial activities. Infection by human immunodeficiency virus and herpes simplex virus are inhibited by N-PSS; 3-log reductions are produced by 7 μg/mL and 3 μg/mL, respectively. N-PSS is active against Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae. At 1 mg/mL, N-PSS inhibits chlamydial infectivity by more than 90%. N-PSS produces a 3-log reduction in gonococcal growth at 15 μg/mL. In contrast, N-PSS (5 mg/mL) does not affect the growth of Lactobacillus (normal component of the vaginal flora). N-PSS can be classified as a noncytotoxic contraceptive antimicrobial agent. These properties justify bringing a polystyrene sulfonate into clinical trials for its evaluation as a preventive agent for conception and several sexually transmitted diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)862-875
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Andrology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Acrosin inhibitor
  • Acrosomal loss
  • Contraceptive
  • Hyaluronidase inhibitor
  • Preclinical studies
  • STD preventive

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Endocrinology
  • Urology


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