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Fertil Steril. 1994 Jun;61(6):1001-13.

Antisperm antibodies: origin, regulation, and sperm reactivity in human infertility.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York 10461.



To follow-up and expand discussion on the action mechanisms of antisperm antibodies in human infertility, the etiology and control of antisperm antibody induction, sperm antigens involved in immunoinfertility, and strategies for therapy.


A review of the recent literature with an emphasis on female immunoinfertility.


The role of antisperm antibodies in clinical infertility continues to be defined. Through assisted reproductive technologies, antisperm antibodies were shown to exert detrimental effects on different prefertilization and possibly postfertilization events. The female reproductive tract is part of the common mucosal immune system and is able to mount effective immune responses against infectious agents, foreign antigens, and, occasionally, sperm cells. Sperm membranes and constituents contain numerous antigenic components foreign to the human body, and yet antisperm antibodies become problematic in few women exposed to semen. Semen and sperm cells contain immunosuppressive factors capable of inhibiting different immune cells. Fertile women apparently produce antisperm antibodies but also possess neutralizing serum anti-idiotypic antibodies that are lacking in virgin and immunoinfertile women.


Antisperm antibodies can affect adversely human fertility but normally may be controlled by anti-idiotypic antibodies, which along with immunosuppressor factors in semen prevent their induction to a significant degree. This balance between detrimental and "beneficial" immune response to sperm may be shifted toward an antisperm antibody response by stimulatory factors such as infection. Therapies may be devised to stimulate the anti-idiotypic antibody system, to induce immune tolerance to sperm antigens, and to use antigens to adsorb antisperm antibodies from spermatozoa.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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