Spermspecific antigens

HLA antigens have not been demonstrated on the surface of spermatozoa. Anti-sperm antibodies appear to recognise tissue-specific antigens since they react with sperm from individuals with different HLA antigens.

Since tolerisation to spermatozoa does not normally occur, vasectomy may lead to exposure of the immune system to sperm-associated antigens and the development of autoimmune disease. An association has been demonstrated between the expression of HLA-A28 and the development of anti-sperm antibodies in vasectomised men. These antibodies have been shown to form circulating immune complexes which, in monkeys, have been implicated in the rapid onset of atherosclerosis.

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