Sperm-related antigens, antibodies and circulating immune complexes in sera of recently vasectomized men
Sera from 35 men were collected before and at timed intervals subsequent to vasectomy and examined for the presence of (a) antibody reactive with human spermatozoa, (b) sperm-related antigen, and (c) circulating immune complexes (CIC). Fewer than 10% of the men examined were ever positive for antisperm antibodies. However, sperm-related antigens were elevated in the sera of 18, 18, and 26% of the mean at 2 wk, 2 mo, and 4 mo postvasectomy, respectively. CIC were detected in the sera of some vasectomized men by three different assays. The CIC in patients' sera were precipitated with polyethylene glycol, dissociated, and the individual CIC components identified by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Most, but not all, of the CIC contained antigen reactive with antisperm immunoglobulin (Ig)G and some also contained complement components C3 and/or Clq. IgA was identified in some of the CIC positive for IgG and sperm antigen and two men had IgM-containing CIC. Analysis of the CIC by sucrose gradient centrifugation revealed them to be heterogeneous in size.