Antisperm antibodies (serum)
Why this test?
To find out the reason for the impossibility of conceiving a child,
To diagnose the immunological causes of infertility.
As an adjunct to semen analysis.
In what cases is it prescribed?
When there are changes in other infertility tests, such as the postcoital test, the mixed antiglobulin test (MAR test) or the latex agglutination test, in women.
If it is impossible to determine antibodies in sperm and / or with pathological changes in the spermogram in men.
Antibodies to sperm antigens are specific immunoglobulins, the action of which is directed against spermatozoa. They are produced by the immune system of a man or woman in response to contact with sperm. Normally, antibodies to sperm antigens are not detected in the body of healthy people, as there are specific protective mechanisms that prevent their appearance.
In men, the hematotesticular barrier protects sperm from the influence of the immune system. When this barrier is violated, the immune system produces antibodies to sperm. It can be caused by trauma to the testicle, bacterial and viral infections (testiculitis, epididymitis, orchitis), testicular cancer, varicocele, cryptorchidism, surgical operations on the testicle (vasectomy, including testicular biopsy), in some cases the cause cannot be established.
The binding of antisperm antibodies to spermatozoa leads to a decrease in their mobility, the ability to penetrate the mucous secretions of the cervix and fertilization of the egg.
Women normally do not produce antibodies against sperm antigens, but various factors (for example, infections, autoimmune diseases) can lead to a loss of immunological tolerance. Recognition of sperm antigens by a woman's immune system is of great importance for her normal fertilization and further development of the fetus in the early stages of pregnancy. In the absence of antibodies in the blood, under the influence of sperm antigens, immunocompetent cells of a pregnant woman must produce cytokines that contribute to trophoblast formation, growth and formation of the placenta, and implantation. If a woman has antisperm antibodies, these processes are disrupted, which leads to termination of pregnancy, gestosis, delayed fetal development, and fetoplacental insufficiency.
Usually, in response to interaction with sperm, the body produces three different types of antibodies that can affect the condition of the sperm - these are immunoglobulins of class A, M and G.
For their detection, ELISA is currently used as the most informative method for recognizing antibodies in blood plasma.
The test for antibodies to sperm antigens in the blood is prescribed mainly to women. In men, it is occasionally used as an additional study when it is impossible to detect antibodies in sperm and/or when there are changes in the spermogram.