The pentraxin serum amyloid P component is found in the male genital tract and attached to spermatozoa


Johan Malm, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Division of Clinical Chemistry, Lund University, University Hospital MAS, 205 02 Malmö, Sweden. E-mail:


Serum amyloid P component (SAP) belongs to the pentraxin family of proteins, members of which are characterized by radial pentameric structure and calcium-dependent ligand binding. SAP is present in all types of amyloidosis and has been shown to bind to several ligands, but the physiological function of this protein has not been fully elucidated. The present study identified and characterized SAP in human semen and immunolocalized it to the male reproductive tract. SAP was also detected in seminal plasma by immunoblotting and purification by affinity chromatography followed by mass spectrometry. According to electroimmunoassay, the concentration of SAP in semen is approximately 2 mg/L, and flow cytometry revealed SAP attached to the surface of spermatozoa. Moreover, immunohistochemistry showed positive staining of spermatozoa, subsets of epithelial cells, and the stroma of accessory male genital glands and testis. Presence of mRNA supports local production of SAP, as shown with reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. We identified SAP in a new setting – the human male reproductive system. SAP was detected on ejaculated spermatozoa, in seminal plasma and in tissue sections from the male reproductive tract. Further functional studies are needed to explain the role of SAP in human reproduction.