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Effects of Sera from Infertile Women with Sperm Immobilizing Antibodies on Fertilization and Embryo Development In Vitro in Mice


Address reprint requests to Hiroaki Shibahara, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Jichi Medical School, 3311-1 Yakushiji, Minamikawachi-machi, Kawachi-gun, Tochigi 329-0498, Japan. E-mail:


PROBLEM: This study was performed to investigate if patients’ sera with anti-human sperm antibodies show inhibitory effects on in vitro fertilization (IVF) and embryo development in mice.

METHOD OF STUDY: Patients’ sera were collected from eight infertile women having sperm immobilizing antibodies and 17 infertile women without the antibodies. Male ICR mice and female F1 mice (BALB/c X C57BL/6J) were used. In mouse IVF, pre-incubated sperm were cultured in the medium containing patient's serum with or without sperm immobilizing antibodies, or bovine serum albumin (BSA) as a control. The fertilization rates and the incidences of blastocyst formation were compared.

RESULTS: A mouse sperm immobilization test was established. Five (62.5%) of eight serum samples with sperm immobilizing antibodies and nine (52.9%) of 17 serum samples without the antibodies showed sperm immobilizing activities in mice. There was no significant difference between the two groups. Five sera with sperm immobilizing activities in human and mice, and five sera without sperm immobilizing activities in human or mice were used for the further experiments. The fertilization rates in BSA, patient's serum with sperm immobilizing antibodies, and that without the antibodies were 82.5% (746/904), 43.6% (508/1165), and 64.5% (669/1037), respectively. There were significant differences between the groups. The incidences of blastocyst formation were 59.9% (447/746), 31.7% (161/508), and 47.7% (319/669), respectively. There were also significant differences between the groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Some of the patient's serum with and without sperm immobilizing antibodies could immobilize sperm with complement. However, as compared with control, sera with sperm immobilizing activities against human and mouse sperm significantly blocked IVF and inhibited embryo development in mice. Further studies are required to investigate the mechanisms of the blocking effects of antisperm antibodies on fertilization and embryo development using the mouse model.