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Arch Androl. 2000 Nov-Dec;45(3):203-13.

Human leukocyte antigen II expression in sperm cells: comparison between fertile and infertile men.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, S. Orsola Hospital, University Alma Mater Studiorum of Bologna, Italy.


Human leukocyte antigens (HLA) class II transcripts in mature spermatozoa of healthy volunteers have recently been demonstrated using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). HLA II expression was investigated on ejaculated sperm cells in fertile and infertile men by RT-PCR and flow cytometry. Among 22 fertile and 20 infertile men, 18 were selected for the study because they showed no contamination with non-sperm cells. HLA II mRNA transcripts were expressed in all but 1 of 8 infertile subjects and in only 2 of 10 fertile ones. The cytofluorometric analysis on three RT-PCR positive samples confirmed the presence of class II antigens on cell surfaces. These data clearly confirm the presence of both HLA II mRNA and surface molecules on human sperm cells. In addition, an interesting nonrandom distribution of positivity among fertile and infertile samples regarding HLA II expression (p < .025) suggests a possible correlation with infertility.

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