ABSTRACT: The specificities of antispermatozoal antibodies in humans were compared using the ability of F(ab')2 fragments prepared from sera containing spermatozoal antibodies to block access to antigenic sites on spermatozoa. Reciprocal blocking experiments were carried out on a panel of 13 sera which came from both men and women, had different modes of agglutination, and came from widely separated population centers.
The blocking experiments confirmed that specificities of antispermatozoal antibodies bear little relation to those suggested by observed modes of agglutination.
F(ab')2 fragments from head-agglutinating sera could inhibit the immobilizing activity of a tail-agglutinating sera and vice versa. Similarly, the sera from men and women could inhibit each other, as could sera collected from patients living in widely separated localities.
It is concluded that there are more than one, but a limited number, of antigens on the spermatozoal surface capable of generating antibodies with antifertility effects. It is also concluded that these antigens occur all over the sperm surface but may be concentrated in certain areas and that the observed modes of agglutination depend at least as much on the characteristics of the antibodies as on their specificities.