Within the male reproductive system, the sperm cells should be protected by the immune system by a blood barrier. In men who suffer from anti-sperm antibody, this blood-testis barrier is not working properly and the immune system detects sperm cells as freight invaders and destroys them. The blood—testes barrier can be damaged by trauma to the testes, by surgery or infection. When the blood—testes barrier is breached, and sperm enters the bloodstream, the immune system mounts an immune response against its own sperm autoimmunity. These anti-sperm antibodies bind to antigen sites on the surface of the sperm. Depending on the location of these sites, the sperm cell can be affected differently in each case, but ultimately all may cause inability of the sperm cells to fertility an egg.
Sperm-associated antigen 6
Antisperm Antibodies - Immunity to Sperm - Infertility
Sperm antibodies reduce fertility, but do not invariably prevent conception. Rather, the effects are graduated; i. Like any other kind of antibody manufactured by the body, sperm antibodies are formed in response to antigens. These antigens are proteins, which appear on the outer sperm membranes as the young sperm cells, develop within the male testes. Antigens can only stimulate antibody production when they come in contact with components of the blood.
Why is it that sperms are not considered foreign (antigens) by the immune system of women?
Acrosome of human sperm possesses two distinct antigens that are immunogenic, and will elicit autoantibodies that are detectable by immunofluorescence IF. The first antigen, Acl, diffuse in distribution, is probably glycoprotein in nature since it is removed by trypsin and periodate. It is readily removed from cells after incubation in acid buffer or phosphate-buffered saline PBS , stable at 60 degrees C and not affected by trypsin inhibitor. The second antigen, Ac2, discrete in distribution, is resistant to trypsin treatment. It remains stable after incubation in acid buffer or PBS, is unstable at 60 degrees C and becomes more diffuse in distribution when incubated in acid buffer or trypsin inhibitor.
The production in the testicles is decreased. The sperm in the tube going out and then to the area of the obstructed vasectomy site decomposes and breaks down over time. When I have done vasectomy reversals in patients years after a vasectomy, the most common finding is sperm parts of heads and tails at various stages of the decomposition process. The sperm is still being produced by the testicles but unable to be in the ejaculate because of the blockage of the vas.