Antisperm antibodies in infertile women: Subclass distribution of immunoglobulin (Ig) A antibodies and removal of IgA sperm-bound antibodies with a specific IgA1 protease

Academic Article


  • Objective: To determine the immunoglobulin (Ig) A subclass distribution of antibodies in the serum and cervical mucus (CM) of infertile women and to evaluate the effect of an IgA1 protease on the removal of sperm-bound antibodies. Methods: Twenty infertile women with antisperm antibodies in serum (n = 10) or in CM (n = 10) were recruited for this study. Monoclonal antibodies to human IgA1 and IgA2 were conjugated to immunobeads and the IgA subclass distribution of antisperm antibodies was determined for positive serum and CM samples. The effect of an IgA1 protease (isolated from Neisseria meningitidis strain HF13) on sperm-bound antibodies was evaluated by immunobead binding. Results: In serum, IgA1 subclass antisperm antibodies predominated (89%) when compared to IgA2 (11%). In CM IgA1 accounted for 62% and IgA2 accounted for 38% of the total IgA antisperm antibodies. Enzyme treatment was able to reduce dramatically the amount of serum IgA antibodies bound to sperm from 88% to 10%. Similarly, a significant reduction in CM antisperm antibodies was observed after enzymatic treatment with no loss in sperm motility. Conclusion: Cervical mucus antisperm antibodies have a higher proportion of IgA2 subclass suggesting a local production of IgA. Specific IgA1 protease treatment is capable of reducing the amount of immunobead- detectable IgA on sperm. Hamster sperm penetration assays are ongoing to determine if this treatment might improve sperm penetration rates with antibody positive sperm.
  • Published In

    Author List

  • Kutteh WH; Kilian M; Ermel LD; Mestecky J
  • Start Page

  • 63
  • End Page

  • 70
  • Volume

  • 63
  • Issue

  • 1