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Arch Immunol Ther Exp (Warsz). 1990;38(1-2):47-60.

Relevance of immuno-contraceptive vaccines for population control. I. Hormonal immunocontraception.

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Gamele Antigens Unit, National Institute of Immunology, JNU Campus, New Delhi, India.


Human chorionic gonadotropin--subunit beta (beta-hCG) has been so far most extensively studied antigen for immuno-contraceptive properties. Studies of vaccination of non-human primates has been so far controversially reported since some antisera obtained from baboons immunized with beta-hCG had shown cross-reactivity to other tissues. Despite these problems and concerns about the complete safety of this first generation vaccine, a decision has been made to proceed with a limited clinical trials with this vaccine. Results from these trials are encouraging and indicate that contraceptive antibody titers can be achieved with permissible adjuvants. Neutralization of LH and/or FSH by circulating antibodies may impede their action and interfere with the maturation of gametes. Gonadotropin releasing hormone can be also a suitable target for immunological attack.


The human reproductive process entails numerous possible sites for immunological intervention aimed at controlling fertility. Currently under investigation are a vaccine based on gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) interception, regulation of male fertility by immunointerception of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), vaccines based on the neutralization of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), and anti-hCG immunization. In Phase I clinical trials, passive transfer of anti-GnRH antibody has produced short-term infertility; long-term infertility has been achieved through active immunization against the decapeptide. In terms of FSH, the research has failed to demonstrate how long-term neutralization brings about male infertility. Before immunization against FSh is considered further as a means of immunocontraception, further studies are needed on the required levels of physiological FSH and testosterone for normal testicular functions to be maintained. 4 other Phase I clinical trials in this area involve vaccines based on the beta subunit of hCG or its fragment. Preliminary results from these trials suggest that contraceptive antibody titers can be obtained with permissible adjuvants, especially tetanus toxoid.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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