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National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC)


Development of Injectable and Oral Contraceptive Technologies and Their Assessment for Wildlife Population and Disease Management

Porcine Zona Pellucida Immunocontraception in Mammals

The National Wildlife Research Center and various cooperators have conducted immunocontraceptive research with porcine zona pellucida (PZP) for several years. Species tested in this research include the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and the coyote (Canis latrans).

The zona pellucida is a membrane that coats the egg. Sperm must bind to and penetrate the zona pellucida to fertilize the egg. Immunizing an animal with zona pellucida from pigs causes the production of antibodies that bind to the host's zona pellucida and prevent fertilization of the egg. Females successfully immunized with PZP will cycle and ovulate normally but will not conceive.

The PZP vaccine is a highly effective contraceptive, but unfortunately it causes multiple estrous cycles in female deer. These multiple cycles and the recurrent sexual activity (and deer movements) associated with them may increase deer-vehicle collisions and other deer-human conflicts. The PZP vaccine does not seem to cause multiple estrous cycles in other species on which it has been tested, and it may prove to be a highly useful infertility agent for other wildlife.

Project Home Page
Project Goals and Objectives
GnRH Immunocontraception (Technical Discussion)
Adjuvant Development (Technical Discussion)
Conjugate Design (Technical Discussion)



Last Modified: March 23, 2010