Autoimmunity to spermatozoa, asymptomatic Chlamydia trachomatis genital tract infection and γδ T lymphocytes in seminal fluid from the male partners of couples with unexplained infertility Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Autoimmunity
  • Chlamydia Infections
  • Chlamydia trachomatis
  • Infertility
  • Spermatozoa


  • The relationship between an undetected, asymptomatic Chlamydia trachomatis genital tract infection, the concentration of gamma delta and alpha b T cells in semen and sperm autoimmunity was examined in 48 male partners of couples with unexplained infertility. Immunoglobulin A (IgA) antibodies to C. trachomatis were detected in seminal fluids from 14 (29.2%) of the men. Only four of these were positive for circulating anti-chlamydial IgA, suggesting that the stimulus for antibody production was within the genital tract. In contrast, four men were positive for anti-chlamydial IgG in their semen; all were also seropositive for anti-chlamydial IgG. T lymphocytes bearing the alpha beta and gamma delta antigen receptors were present in every semen sample. Men with seminal anti-chlamydial IgA, however, had significantly (P = 0.035) elevated semen gamma delta T cell concentrations (median 3100 cells/ml) than did men lacking this antibody (median 1400 cells/ml); concentrations of alpha beta T cells were comparable in both groups. Genital tract sperm autoimmunity, as shown by antibodies bound to motile ejaculated spermatozoa, was detected in 13 (27.1%) men. The presence of these antibodies was associated with elevated concentrations of both gamma delta (median 4200 versus 700 cells/ml) and alpha beta (median 5000 versus 850 cells/ml) T cells (P = 0.0002 and 0.0001 respectively). Men with antisperm antibodies only in their serum had seminal T cell concentrations comparable with men testing negative for antisperm antibodies. Anti-chlamydial IgA was identified in semen from four of 10 men with IgA bound to their spermatozoa and in none of the men with only spermatozoa-bound IgG.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

publication date

  • January 1995



  • Academic Article



  • eng

PubMed ID

  • 7657743

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 1070

end page

  • 4


  • 10


  • 5