PROBLEM: To characterize the specificity of antibodies to the synthetic C-terminal 67–94 (R-28) peptide of human seminal plasma inhibin (hSPI), and to examine the effect of active immunization on the fecundity of adult male animals.
METHOD OF STUDY: The specificity of R-28-DT antibodies was tested using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, immunohistochemical and immunofluorescence staining, and Western blotting. For fertility studies, adult male rats and rabbits were immunized and mated with females of the same strain.
RESULTS: Rabbit antibodies to R-28-DT recognized native hSPI, as demonstrated by sperm agglutination in vivo and in vitro, on the sperm head by immunofluorescence staining, and in the columnar epithelial cells of the prostate by immunohistochemical staining. Immunization with the R-28-DT conjugate elicited a poor antibody response in male rats and their fecundity remained unaffected, while in male rabbits it elicited a good immune response with reduction in their fertility.
CONCLUSION: R-28-DT antibodies recognized the native hSPI in the prostatic epithelium and agglutinated washed rat, rabbit, monkey, and human spermatozoa in vitro. Immunization of rabbits caused agglutination of spermatozoa resulting in a decrease in their fecundity. The conjugated R-28 peptide of hSPI offers promise as a male contraceptive.