Circulating antibodies to Chlamydia trachomatis in women: Relationship to antisperm and antichlamydial antibodies in semen of male partners
The relation between antibodies to Chlamydia trachomatis and spermatozoa in sera of 112 asymptomatic female partners of infertile couples with no history of C.trachomatis infections and antichlamydial antibodies in semen or antisperm antibodies on ejaculated spermatozoa of their male partners was examined. Samples were tested for immunoglobulin (Ig)A and IgG antibodies to C.trachomatis by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay; antisperm antibodies in sera and on motile spermatozoa were assayed by immunobead binding. IgG antibodies to C.trachomatis were detected in 24 (21.4%) of the women; only five (4.5%) women were positive for antichlamydial IgA. Antichlamydial IgG was detected in sera from 10 (40.0%) of 25 women whose partners had antichlamydial IgA in semen as opposed to 14 (16.1%) of 87 women whose partners' semen were negative for this antibody (P = 0.02). Similarly, antichlamydial IgG was detected in sera from five (50%) of 10 women whose partners had antichlamydial IgG in semen as opposed to 19 (18.6%) of 102 women whose partners' semen lacked this antibody (P = 0.03). There was no relation between antichlamydial antibodies in women and circulating antichlamydial antibodies in men. A strong correlation (P = 0.001) was observed between IgG antichlamydial antibodies in a woman's serum and antisperm antibodies on ejaculated spermatozoa of her partner [8 of 14 (57.1%) versus 16 of 98 (16.3%)]. Conversely, antichlamydial antibodies in a woman's serum was unrelated to the presence of antisperm antibodies in either her own serum or her partner's serum. The data demonstrate that chlamydial infections of the male genital tract, which are associated with antisperm antibody formation on ejaculated spermatozoa, are likely to be transmitted to the female partner. In contrast, the presence of antichlamydial antibodies in sera does not necessarily appear to indicate an infection of the genital tract and is not associated with the heterosexual transmission of C.trachomatis.