• Spermatozoal antibodies;
  • IgG subclasses;
  • complement;
  • flow cytometry

ABSTRACT: Mouse monoclonal antibodies (MAb) specific for each of the four human IgG subclasses and immunofluorescence flow cytometry were used to evaluate the subclass of the IgG antibody response to sperm in serum samples from 13 men and 6 women with a high titer (> 1:15,625) of IgG antisperm antibodies (ASA)) determined by an indirect immunobead test. Five sera without ASA were also studied as a control. All 19 (100%) of the ASA-positive sera contained immunoglobulin (Ig)G ASA of the IgG1 and IgG3 subclasses. A 1:1 correlation was observed between the presence of IgG1 and IgG3 ASA. IgG2 was essentially undetectable, while IgG4 reactivity, although less intense than IgG1 and IgG3, was more prominent in the sera from the five vasectomized men. The ability of the IgG1 and IgG3 ASA-positive sera to deposit complement (C) on sperm was demonstrated by the concomitant binding to antibody-laden sperm of polyclonal antibodies to the membrane attack complex (C5b-9) of C. Both C-fixing and non-C-fixing ASA-positive sera were found to possess IgG1 and IgG3 antisperm antibodies. The predominance of IgG1 and IgG3 subclasses suggested a T-cell dependent immune response to sperm antigens.