Naturally occurring antibodies reactive with sperm proteins: apparent deficiency in AIDS sera

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Science  07 Jun 1985:
Vol. 228, Issue 4704, pp. 1211-1215
DOI: 10.1126/science.3890184


A set of naturally occurring immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies that are reactive with a defined subset of proteins in the acrosomal cap region of human sperm has been identified. These antibodies are present in a broad spectrum of human sera from males and females, 1 day to 40 years of age, and are absent or markedly deficient in a large proportion of sera from individuals with the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) or at risk for AIDS. The subset of proteins with which the IgM antibodies are reactive includes a factor (or factors) capable of inhibiting lectin-induced T-lymphocyte proliferation. The prevalence of the sperm-reactive IgM antibodies indicates that they are not elicited by sperm. Further, immunoreactivity of the sperm proteins resulting in depletion of specific circulating IgM antibodies, or other interactions between the sperm proteins and elements of the immune system, may be a factor in the suppressed state of the immune system in AIDS.