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Hum Reprod. 2003 Jul;18(7):1469-73.

Diversity of the inhibitory effects on fertilization by anti-sperm antibodies bound to the surface of ejaculated human sperm.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Jichi Medical School, 3311-1 Yakushiji, Minamikawachi-machi, Kawachi-gun, Tochigi 329-0498, Japan.



The presence of anti-sperm antibodies (ASA) in males can reduce fecundity. However, it has been shown that there is a diversity of ASA bound to the sperm surface. This study was performed to investigate the inhibitory effects on fertilization by ASA in males.


ASA were detected using the direct-immunobead test (D-IBT) in 509 semen samples. In some cases, the direct-sperm immobilization test (D-SIT) was carried out. The fertilizing ability of infertile males with ASA was determined as follows; (i) an IVF fertilization rate of >/=50%, (ii) a hemizona index (HZI) of >/=50%, and (iii) pregnancy established without the use of ART.


In total, 18 (3.54%) infertile males had ASA on the sperm surface. Except for one male with an absolute indication for ICSI because of severe asthenozoospermia and two males who dropped out of this study, fertilizing ability in 15 males could be determined. Four (26.7%) men did not satisfy the criteria. The existence of sperm immobilizing antibodies on the surface of ejaculated sperm had no impact on fertilization. In four (57.1%) of seven patients who had IB-bound sperm of >/=80%, fertilizing ability was inhibited, while none of the eight patients who had <80% IB-bound sperm had an inhibitory effect on fertilization. There was a significant difference between the two groups (P = 0.01).


Some sperm-bound antibodies are related to the inhibitory effects on fertilization, indicating that a diversity of sperm-bound antibodies exists in males. This result might be one of the reasons for the controversy of the relationship between ASA and male immunological infertility. Based on the present study, a sperm-zona pellucida binding assay should be performed for appropriate decision making in infertile males with ASA.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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