Sperm Immunity in Infertile Couples: Antibody Titers Are Higher Against the Husbands' Sperm Than to Sperm From Controls

Authors

  • SUBBI MATHUR Ph.D.,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Basic and Clinical Immunology and Microbiology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston
    2. Section of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston
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  • H. OLIVER WILLIAMSON,

    1. Section of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston
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  • PETRINA V. GENCO,

    1. Department of Laboratory Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston
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  • WITTE R. KOOPMANN JR,

    1. Section of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston
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  • PHILIP F. RUST,

    1. Department of Biometry, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston
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  • H. HUGH FUDENBERG

    1. Department of Basic and Clinical Immunology and Microbiology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston
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  • Publication no. 566 from the Department of Basic and Clinical Immunology and Microbiology, Medical University of South Carolina. This work was supported in part by USPHS grants HD-14365 (Dr. Mathur) and 1K04 HD-00450 (Dr. Mathur, recipient of the Research Career Development Award).

Department of Basic and Clinical Immunology, Medical University of South Carolina. 171 Ashlev Avenue, Charleston. SC 29425.

Abstract

ABSTRACT: Titers of hemagglutination and cytotoxic antibodies to sperm were determined in the sera, seminal plasma, cervical mucus, and vaginal secretions from 69 infertile couples, using sperm from the husbands and from normal control subjects. Titers of hemagglutination and cytotoxic antibodies were significantly higher (p = 0.002 and p < 0.001, respectively) against autologous sperm as contrasted with sperm from control subjects in sera from 55 autoimmune males. Hemagglutination and cytotoxic antibody titers were also significantly higher (p = 0.044 and p < 0.001, respectively) against their husbands' sperm as contrasted with control sperm in sera from 46 females with isoimmunity to sperm. Ninety percent of males and females with sperm immunity were positive for histocompatibility antigens HLA-B7, HLA-B8, and/or HLA-BW35. In males, the presence of increased serum cytotoxic antibody titers against autologous versus control sperm was significantly associated with the presence of HLA-B7 allele (p = 0.0017) and with HLA-B7, HLA-B8, and/or HLA-BW35 in general (p < 0.05). In the females, increased serum antibody titers to their own husbands' versus control sperm were not preferentially associated with HLA-B7, HLA-B8, or HLA-BW35 antigens.

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