A screen of repurposed drugs identifies AMHR2/MISR2 agonists as potential contraceptives

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Apr 12;119(15):e2122512119. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2122512119. Epub 2022 Apr 5.


We identified the anti-Mullerian hormone (also known as Müllerian inhibiting substance or MIS) as an inhibitory hormone that induces long-term contraception in mammals. The type II receptor to this hormone, AMHR2 (also known as MISR2), represents a promising druggable target for the modulation of female reproduction with a mechanism of action distinct from steroidal contraceptives. We designed an in vitro platform to screen and validate small molecules that can activate MISR2 signaling and suppress ovarian folliculogenesis. Using a bone morphogenesis protein (BMP)–response element luciferase reporter cell–based assay, we screened 5,440 compounds from a repurposed drug library. Positive hits in this screen were tested for specificity and potency in luciferase dose–response assays, and biological activity was tested in ex vivo Mullerian duct regression bioassays. Selected candidates were further evaluated in ex vivo follicle/ovary culture assays and in vivo in mice and rats. Here, we report that SP600125, CYC-116, gandotinib, and ruxolitinib can specifically inhibit primordial follicle activation and repress folliculogenesis by stimulating the MISR2 pathway.

Keywords: AMH; AMHR2 agonists; contraception; folliculogenesis; small molecules screen.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anthracenes / chemistry
  • Anthracenes / pharmacology
  • Contraceptive Agents* / chemistry
  • Contraceptive Agents* / pharmacology
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Drug Repositioning*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Nitriles / chemistry
  • Nitriles / pharmacology
  • Ovarian Follicle* / drug effects
  • Ovarian Follicle* / growth & development
  • Pyrazoles / chemistry
  • Pyrazoles / pharmacology
  • Pyrimidines / chemistry
  • Pyrimidines / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Peptide* / agonists
  • Receptors, Transforming Growth Factor beta* / agonists
  • Small Molecule Libraries* / chemistry
  • Small Molecule Libraries* / pharmacology
  • Thiazoles / chemistry
  • Thiazoles / pharmacology


  • 4-methyl-5-(2-(4-morpholinophenylamino)pyrimidin-4-yl)thiazol-2-amine
  • Anthracenes
  • Contraceptive Agents
  • Nitriles
  • Pyrazoles
  • Pyrimidines
  • Receptors, Peptide
  • Receptors, Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Small Molecule Libraries
  • Thiazoles
  • anti-Mullerian hormone receptor
  • pyrazolanthrone
  • ruxolitinib