• Corticosteroid therapy;
  • complement;
  • immunoglobulins;
  • sperm antibodies

ABSTRACT: The presence of sperm antibodies can be demonstrated in 8–10% of the male partners of infertile couples. The therapeutic schedule with which the highest pregnancy rate has been obtained in these cases is that proposed by Shulman, which uses methylprednisolone (MP). If treatment with corticosteroids (CS) is effective, the way in which it acts is not entirely clear. In this study we report the results of 16 treatment cycles with CS administered to eight male patients having sperm antibodies in their serum, in which several parameters of humoral immunity were evaluated. The results are conflicting: several parameters (such as IgG concentration) underwent only slight variations after 7 days of therapy, whereas in 12 cycles out of 16, the Tray agglutination test (TAT) indicated that a reduction or disappearance of the antibodies had been obtained. This confirms the usefulness of CS in immunological infertility, and allows us to hypothesize that the beneficial effect may be found in a reduction of inflammation rather than in a suppression of the immunological response, since CS are well known to have these two kinds of effect.