• Contraception;
  • epididymis;
  • infertility;
  • sperm proteins

Citation Khan SA, Jadhav SV, Suryawanshi AR, Bhonde GS, Gajbhiye RK, Khole VV. Evaluation of contraceptive potential of a novel epididymal sperm protein SFP2 in a mouse model. Am J Reprod Immunol 2011; 66: 185–198

Problem  Sperm flagellar protein 2 (SFP2), which was earlier identified using a novel combinatorial approach, was evaluated for its contraceptive potential in mice.

Method of study  Male mice were actively immunized with two synthetic peptides of SFP2. Antipeptide antibody was characterized by Western blot and indirect immunofluorescence. Immune response was monitored, and mating studies were performed 6 and 22 weeks post-immunization.

Result  Antibodies to the SFP2 peptide 1 recognized a doublet at 220- to 230-kDa region only in the epididymal protein extract. Peptide 1 antibody recognized the cognate protein on spermatozoa from mouse, rat, and human. Histological analysis of testis and epididymis of the immunized mice indicated no deleterious effect. Incubation of sperm with the immune sera of peptide 1 caused significant reduction in motility and viability but did not agglutinate sperm. Only synthetic peptide 1 gave rise to high-level antibodies in all the immunized mice, which on mating resulted in reduced fertility rate (20%) when compared with PBS control animals (100%). The antibody levels in the immunized males declined by 22 weeks post-immunization, resulting in 100% reinstatement of fertility.

Conclusion  These data provide an experimental basis for the development of effective contraceptive vaccine based on new epididymal target.