Effect of antibodies against seminal vesicle secretion on fertility in the rat

Rosa  Carballada a1c1 and Pedro  Esponda a1
a1 Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas, CSIC, Madrid, Spain


Fertile female Wistar rats were immunised against rat and mouse seminal vesicle secretion (SVS) to test the production of allo-antibodies and the effect of the antibodies elicited on fertility. Twenty-six per cent of the rat and mouse SVS-immunised females were infertile after the treatment. The sera were titrated by ELISA and used in Western blots to detect the proteins recognised. Although neither the antibody titres nor the proteins recognised by the sera showed a close relation with the degree of fertility, in all females the highest antibody titre in the fluids from the genital tract was found in the oviductal fluid and during the night of oestrus. This fact suggested that the site of action of the antibody could be the oviduct. Similar results were obtained using mouse SVS as immunogen – a fact that can be related to the antigenic similarity between the SVS of the two species. The antibodies react with the spermatozoa but not with eggs or embryos. Analyses performed on embryos collected from sterile females showed that there was a delay in fertilisation and normal embryogenesis. Our results suggest that SVS proteins are antigenic and that these antigens are bound to the spermatozoa and could take part in early pre-fertilisation events such as capacitation or sperm transport.

(Received April 1 1999)
(Accepted May 1 1999)

Key Words: Allo-antibodies; fertility; Seminal plasma; Seminal vesicle.

c1 Dr R. Carballada, Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas, Velázquez 144, 28006 Madrid, Spain. Tel: +34-915611800 (ext. 4336). Fax: +34-915627518. e-mail: rosac@cib.csic.es