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Keywords:

  • female reproductive tract;
  • immunology;
  • pregnancy;
  • fertilization

Abstract

Previous studies have reported reduced fertility in female baboons immunized with a synthetic peptide derived from the sperm-specific isozyme of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH-C). In this study, a similar approach was used to immunize female cynomolgus macaques with the same peptide sequence (bC5-19) conjugated to a T-cell epitope from tetanus toxin (TT). Twelve female monkeys were immunized with bC5-19:TT delivered with Ribi MPL adjuvant vehicle, and 10 control female monkeys were injected with the adjuvant vehicle only. All 12 females in the treatment group developed LDH-C-specific serum antibodies as measured by ELISA, but anti-LDH-C antibodies were not detected in vaginal fluids of the immunized animals. After 4 months of timed mating immediately following the immunizations, five of the ten immunized females became pregnant, as did six of the ten control females. Anti-sera from both pregnant and nonpregnant bC5-19:TT-immunized females recognize a single band at 35 kDa on Western blots of whole sperm extracts, and purified Igs from the same sera localize along the principle piece of the flagellum of permeabilized sperm. Mol. Reprod. Dev. 62: 257–264, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.