Vaccine for contraception targeting sperm


  • Rajesh K. Naz

    1. Professor and Director Division of Research Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Medical College of Ohio 3055 Arlington Avenue Toledo OH 43614-5806 USA Fax: 1 419 383 4473 e-mail:
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  • Acknowledgements
    We thank Drs Xiaolong Zhu, R. Santhanam, Khaliq Ahmad, and Alan C. Menge for their collaborations and providing technical expertise on various aspects of the project. We are especially grateful co Nadia Ashraf and Monica Leslie for providing expert technical, artistic, and superb typing assistance. This work was supported by the NIH grant HD24425 to RKN.


Summary: Development of a vaccine(s) based on sperm antigens represents a promising approach to contraception. The utility of a sperm antigen ill immunocontraception is contingent upon its tissue specificity, involvement in fertility and on raising high antibody deer, especially locally in the genital tract, that is capable of inducing reversible infertility. Several sperm antigens, such as lactate dehydrogenase C4, PH-20, sperm protein (SP)-10, fertilization antigen (FA)-1, FA- 2, cleavage signal (CS)-1, NZ-1, and NZ-2 have been proposed as potential candidates for the vaccine development. Spermzona pellucida (ZP) binding is a pivotal tissue- and mostly species-specific event in the fertilization process, and the molecules involved in this site constitute che most exciting candidates for immuno-contraception. FA-1 is a sperm-specific glycoprotein having receptor activity for ZR recognition and binding. Complementary DNA encoding for FA-1 antigen has been cloned and sequenced. Active immunization of animals with recombinant FA-1 antigen causes a long-lasting reversible inhibition in fertility by raising a sperm-specific immune response. This antigen is also involved in human immunoinfertility. The exciting findings from the recent trial in immunoinfertile couples indicate that the FA-1 antigen may have clinical application in the treatment of male infertility. A vaccine having most appropriate tissue-specific and effective recombinant and/or synthetic epitopes of various sperm antigens, such as the FA-1 antigen, in a single formulation may provide a highly immunogenic and efficacious antisperm vaccine for contraception. The advances made during che last 5 years suggest that it may be a realistic proposition.