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    Task force on immunological methods for the regulation of fertility.

    World Health Organization [WHO]

    In: World Health Organization (WHO). World Health Organization expanded programme of research, development, and research training in human reproduction: fourth annual report. Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, November 1975. 51-5. (HRP/75.3)

    2 years ago an exploratory program of possible vaccines for birth control was initiated. The approach is totally new and it is impossible to predict the outcome. Research on placental antigens has focused on the beta subunit of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), a placental-specific protein called SP1, a placental-specific glycoprotein called PP5, and several protein conjugates and adjuvants which use the beta chain of insulin with carrier proteins to synthesize beta-HCG. Details of this research are given. Considerable data suggest that antibodies to several substances in spermatozoa may immobilize, agglutinate, or destroy their biological activity. Sperm enzyme antigens being investigated include lactic dehydrogenase-X, hyaluronidase, and acrosin. These are given to the female; tests have shown fertility reductions up to 50%. Sperm membrane antigens are difficult to isolate but may be more suitable immunogens since they are membrane bound and would not have the problems of circulating immune complexes or nonspecific tissue cross-reactivity. These include "T" and "S" antigens, sperm immobilizing antigen, and carbohydrate antigens. Various antigen/carrier/adjuvant combinations will also be evaluated. Zona pellucida antigens are another research target, especially zone surface antigens. A workshop was organized to consider the production of local immunity in the female genital tract. Since infertility in humans attributed to immunological factors may hold useful information, a bank of sera from infertile men and women has been established in Arhus, Denmark. A symposium on immunological methods of fertility regulation was held in Bulgaria and the papers published as a monograph.
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