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Reprod Fertil Dev. 1994;6(3):349-55.

Contraceptive vaccine assessment based on a murine ZP3 mini-autoantigen.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville 22901.


A summary is presented of published and some unpublished observations from studies on the immunological response of mice to a 13-mer peptide of the murine ovarian zona pellucida glycoprotein ZP3. The findings have the following implications for the design of immunocontraceptive vaccines. To be reversible, a ZP3 vaccine must not contain pathogenic T cell epitopes of ZP3, but contraception without autoimmune oophoritis may be feasible. The immune response to the ZP3 mini-autoantigen is highly variable among inbred mouse strains, suggesting that a single oophoritogenic peptide would not achieve irreversible contraception in an outbred population. The discovery of antigen mimicry at the level of T cell peptide has thrown doubt on the validity of current strategy in detecting relevant self-antigens that might cross react with vaccine immunogens and on the feasibility of fully predicting the cross-reactive autoimmunogenic potential of a peptide or polypeptide vaccine antigen. Autoantibodies directed against epitopes outside the ZP3 mini-autoantigen, produced by immunization with the pure T cell epitope, react with high affinity, with native zona pellucida, and may be useful in identifying B cell epitopes in ZP3.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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