Factors Affecting the Generation and Contraceptive Effectiveness of Immune Responses to Sperm

  • Deborah J. Anderson
Part of the Reproductive Biology book series (RBIO)


In recent years it has been demonstrated that anti-sperm immunity is often associated with infertility in men and women, and a number of immunogenic sperm-specific antigens have been identified and characterized. It is now possible to mass produce these antigens by genetic engineering technology for use in contraceptive vaccine trials. However, knowledge of the complexities of the immune system and the manipulation of immune responses especially in the reproductive tissues lags considerably behind these more precise technological advances. Male and female reproductive tissues are naturally potential immunologic targets protected by immunologic barriers, immunosuppressive factors and possibly other immunoregulatory mechanisms. This area remains a largely unexplored research frontier and it is likely that considerable research on fundamental questions of reproductive immunology shall have to be performed before an effective contraceptive vaccine can be developed. In this chapter, I review certain classical immunologic considerations in the development of vaccines, focusing on immunological peculiarities of reproductive tissues and their antigens that require special consideration.


Seminal Plasma Infertile Woman Testicular Germ Cell Immunosuppressive Factor Antisperm Antibody 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Deborah J. Anderson
    • 1
  1. 1.Fearing Research Laboratory Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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