• Complement activation;
  • egg culture;
  • immunohistochemistry

PROBLEM: To find out whether autoantibodies against human preimplantation stages are present in some human sera and, if so, whether the antibodies could be capable to affect the egg development and/or to trigger an activation of the complement system at the procedures of assisted conception.

METHODS: 1. Immunohistochemistry on blots of human preimplantation stages. 2. Immunohistochemistry on paraffin sections of human and mouse preimplantation stages. 3. Culture of mouse morulae to analyze complement activation.

RESULTS: 1. Some human sera contained autoantibodies against human preimplantation stages. 2. Human-mouse cross-reacting antibodies against preimplantation stages occurred. 3. Immune complexes, formed on mouse preimplantation stages, activated the complement systems in egg cultures, resulting in a damaging of the eggs.

CONCLUSION: The presence of natural autoantibodies to preimplantation stages may be associated with reproduction failure, caused by a direct effect by the autoantibodies and/or an activation of the uterine complement system by the immune complexes formed.