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The effects of lymphokines and monokines on human sperm fertilizing ability in the zona-free hamster egg penetration test

  • Joseph A. Hill
    Correspondence
    Reprint requests: Joseph A. Hill, MD, Fearing Research Laboratory, Harvard Medical School, 250 Longwood Ave., Rm 204, Boston, MA 02115.
    Affiliations
    Fearing Research Laboratory, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Jane Cohen
    Affiliations
    Fearing Research Laboratory, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Deborah J. Anderson
    Affiliations
    Fearing Research Laboratory, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
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      Abstract

      Antisperm cell-mediated immunity has been associated with infertility in men and women. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the products of activated lymphocytes and macrophages (lymphokines and monokines) affect the fertilizing ability of human spermatozoa in the zona-free hamster egg penetration test. Of a panel of six different purified cytokines tested, the lymphokine -y-interferon and the monokine tumor necrosis factor significantly affected the ability of human sperm to penetrate hamster eggs. An inhibitory effect was observed when motile sperm were harvested for use in the assay by a swim-up technique after overnight incubation in low amounts of these cytokines and also when the factors were added to the cultures at the time sperm were introduced to the eggs. These data contribute further evidence that soluble factors produced by activated lymphocytes and macrophages in reproductive tissues could be significant mediators of immunologic infertility. (Am J Obstet Gynecol 1989;160:1154-9.)

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