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J Reprod Immunol. 1988 Dec;14(3):203-12.

An improved immunogen for anti-human chorionic gonadotropin vaccine eliciting antibodies reactive with a conformation native to the hormone without cross-reaction with human follicle stimulating hormone and human thyroid stimulating hormone.

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  • 1Immuno-Endocrinology Group, National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi, India.


Beta-subunit of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) was associated with alpha-subunit of ovine luteinizing hormone (OLH) to create a heterospecies dimer (HSD) which has a higher steroidogenic potency than the homologous dimer of alpha hCG and beta hCG in the mouse Leydig cell bioassay. The properties and merits of the antibodies induced by this HSD and beta hCG linked to carrier(s) were investigated in rodents and in a subhuman primate species. The antisera had, in both cases, high affinity for binding with hCG (K alpha = 10(9)-10(10) M-1). The mean (+/- S.E.M.) bioneutralization capacity as a percentage of immunoreactivity (determined by radioimmunoassay (RIA)) of the antibodies generated by the HSD-carrier in rats and bonnet monkeys was higher in comparison with those induced by beta hCG linked to carrier (80 +/- 2.3% vs. 63 +/- 1.5% in rats, and 65 +/- 1.9% for HSD vs. 44 +/- 3.7% in monkeys). None of the sera gave any evidence of cross-reactivity with human follicle stimulating hormone (hFSH) and human thyroid stimulating hormone (hTSH).


The intervention of hormonal activity by an immunological approach requires the prevention of the activity of the particular hormone on target tissue. Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) has 2 subunits with hormonal activity demonstrated by the intact hormone. A study was designed to produce an immunogen with a structure similar to the intact hCG but without the ability of engendering hFSH and hTSH. It was found that a-subunits of gonadotropins are immunologically specific without causing a cross-species reaction. aoLH was combined with BhCG to produce a heterospecies dimer. The dimer demonstrated its usefulness by not only identifying the hCG receptor but by also drawing out a better steroidogenic response than hCG. No reaction with hFSH and hTSH was observed in the sera. The heterospecies dimer (HSD) generated by non-covalent association of BhCG with aoLH has the potential for operating as a better immunogen than BhCG for a contraceptive vaccine. However, as the study was conducted on rodents and a subhuman primate species, further study on the human species needs to be pursued.

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