Serological studies of male accessory sex tissues, employing rabbit antiserum to rat vesiculo-prostate complex, have indicated a high degree of specificity for the accessory glands system. By gel diffusion methods, the accessory glands, i.e. seminal vesicle, coagulating gland, ventral and dorsolateral prostates, and Cowper's and preputial glands, have been found to contain common antigen(s), although some of the glands were shown to have individually specific antigens as well. A slowly diffusing antigen was highly characteristic of the vesiculo-prostate complex and was found consistently in seminal vesicle, coagulating gland and dorsolateral prostate, as well as bulbo-urethral gland and vas deferens. Testis, uterus and mammary gland, and non-genital tissues gave negative reactions with the tissue-specific antisera. A study of other species of vesiculo-prostate (human, monkey, guinea-pig, rabbit and mouse) showed that only the mouse contained cross-reacting antigen(s).
By immunofluorescence, it was confirmed that rat accessory glands contained common antigen(s) and that the mouse contained cross-reacting antigen(s). The specific nature of the homologous reaction was confirmed by tanned cell haemagglutination.
It is implicit in these findings that the highly tissue-specific, species-restricted antigens which characterize the accessory sex glands may be used to classify them and study their growth, function and evolution.
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