Gossypol Chemical formula

Chemical information

Gosipol. 2,2′-Bis(1,6,7-trihydroxy-3-methyl-5-isopropylnaphthalene-8-carboxaldehyde).
Chemical formula: C30H30O8 = 518.6.
CAS — 303-45-7.


Gossypol is a pigment extracted from cottonseed oil. It possesses antispermatogenic activity and has been studied, especially in China, as a male contraceptive. It has also been investigated for its antineoplastic, antiprotozoal, antiviral, and spermicidal activity and has been studied in women in the treatment of gynaecological disorders. Adverse effects have included fatigue, changes in appetite, gastrointestinal effects, burning sensation of the face and hands, some loss of libido, and persistent oligospermia. Hypokalaemia has occurred. Although controlled studies2,3 have shown gossypol to be an effective male contraceptive, WHO concluded4that gossypol would not be acceptable as a male antifertility drug because of the occurrence of adverse effects such as hypokalaemia and irreversible testicular damage resulting in azoospermia or severe oligozoospermia.
1. Wu D. An overview of the clinical pharmacology and therapeutic potential of gossypol as a male contraceptive agent and in gynaecological disease. Drugs 1989; 38: 333–41
2. Coutinho EM, et al. Antispermatogenic action of gossypol in men. Fertil Steril 1984; 42: 424–30
3. Liu G, et al. Clinical trial of gossypol as a male contraceptive drug part I: efficacy study. Fertil Steril 1987; 48: 459–61
4. Waites GMH, et al. Gossypol: reasons for its failure to be accepted as a safe, reversible male antifertility drug. Int J Androl 1998; 21: 8–12.
Published May 08, 2019.