Toward the Development of an Anti-Sperm Contraceptive Vaccine
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Development of a vaccine based on sperm antigens represents a promising approach to contraception. The feasibility of this approach is based upon two evidences. The first type of evidence comes from the studies of involuntary immunoinfertility in humans. Presence of antisperm antibodies have been reported to be one of the major causes of immunoinfertility in both men and women.1 Second type of evidence is provided by the experimental immunization studies. Immunization of male and female animals of various species with extracts of sperm or mature testis results in a significant reduction in fertility by causing either fertilization failure or preimplantation embryo mortality or both. 2–5 The whole sperm cannot be used as an immunogen for the development of an antisperm vaccine due to the presence of numerous antigens on germ cells which could be shared with other somatic tissues. The utility of an antigen as an immunocontraceptive vaccine is contingent upon its tissue-specificity, its homogeneity, strong immunogenicity and its involvement in fertilization and fertility.
KeywordsZona Pellucida Female Rabbit Antisperm Antibody Sperm Plasma Membrane Strong Immunogenicity
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