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Mol Reprod Dev. 1991 Jun;29(2):180-8.

Complement component C1q and its receptor are involved in the interaction of human sperm with zona-free hamster eggs.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, State University of New York, Stony Brook.


C1q is a component of the classical complement pathway that can react with the Fc-fragment of immunoglobulins and with other proteins, such as fibronectin, laminin, and a specific C1q receptor present on several cell types. Given its role in many adhesion systems, mainly related to phagocytosis, we tested the effects of C1q on the interaction between human spermatozoa and zona-free hamster eggs. The presence of C1q in the medium used for gamete coincubation resulted in promotion of sperm-oolemma adhesion and an inhibition of penetration. The number of adherent sperm per egg at 5 micrograms/ml concentration was 90 +/- 35 vs. 29 +/- 7 for the control (P less than 0.001). At 1 microgram/ml, the lower concentration at which C1q had an effect, the number of penetrating sperm/egg was 0.6 vs. 1.7 for the control without C1q (P less than 0.01), and the percent of penetrated eggs was 28% vs. 85%. At 50 micrograms/ml, the percent of penetrated eggs was 7%, with a penetration index of 0.07. The addition of C1q to the medium resulted in sperm agglutination, which varied between sperm donors. The presence of C1q receptors, as detected by anti-C1qR monoclonal antibodies (Mabs), was demonstrated both on zona-free hamster eggs by immunobead rosetting and on human spermatozoa by immunobead binding and indirect immunofluorescence. Mabs directed against different epitopes of C1qR had different effects on gamete interaction, with a partial inhibition of penetration mediated by some of them. The binding of C1q to antibody-free human spermatozoa was also demonstrated both by means of indirect immunofluorescence and utilizing 125I-C1q.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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