Summary. Rabbit polyvalent antiserum raised against the solubilized cumulus matrix was a powerful inhibitor of human fertilization in vitro, affecting sperm–zona pellucida interaction. Both sperm binding to, and penetration of, the zona pellucida were severely impaired by the anti–cumulus matrix antiserum, whereas no effects of this antiserum on cumulus matrix solubilization or penetration of zona-free human eggs were evident. Moreover, the anti-cumulus antiserum partly neutralized the acrosome reaction-inducing activity of the cumulus matrix. These results warrant further research into the functional specificity of different cumulus matrix components and into the effects of the respective antibodies on reproductive function as a possible lead to a new approach to contraceptive vaccine development.
Keywords: contraceptive vaccine; cumulus oophorus antigens; sperm–zona pellucida interaction; sperm acrosome reaction; immunoinhibition of fertilization; man