• Hamster;
  • immunocontraception;
  • oviductal glycoprotein;
  • sperm binding;
  • zona pellucida

PROBLEM: The effect of antibodies generated against hamster oviductal glycoprotein (OGP) on sperm binding to the zona pellucida (ZP) was evaluated.

METHOD OF STUDY: Antibodies against a 17-amino-acid sequence of the OGP core protein (amino acids 52–68) and the denatured hamster OGP protein were generated, characterized, and tested in an in vitro sperm binding assay.

RESULTS: Sperm binding was significantly decreased (P < 0.05) when oviductal oocytes were incubated for 2 hr with 4 or 8 mg/ml of immune IgG of both antibodies when compared with normal rabbit IgG. A fluorescence assay showed binding of both antibodies to the endogenous OGP associated with the ZP of ovulated hamster oocytes. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that OGP may be a potential immunocontraceptive target because both antibodies significantly decreased sperm binding to the ZP of oviductal oocytes. Immunocontraception may be accomplished by attempting to generate active immunity to a recombinant OGP, to the region selected in this study (amino acids 52–68) or to some other region of the core protein.