Summary. The presence of a high molecular weight antifertility factor in human seminal plasma was established. The factor can be precipitated by centrifugation at 104 000 g. Its activity is maximal when the protein concentration reaches 150 μg/105 spermatozoa using the mouse in-vitro fertilization assay as the test system. The factor is heat labile but its activity is not affected by dialysis. It prevents the penetration of the spermatozoa through the layers surrounding the egg but has no effect on the fusion of the spermatozoa with the vitelline membrane. The factor is only partly removed from spermatozoa by washing but is completely dispersed when the spermatozoa are incubated in capacitation medium. The pellet that is precipitated from the seminal plasma does not contain any particles or vesicles. However, it is significantly contaminated with low molecular weight material. This material includes the acrosin inhibitor which is present in large enough quantities to hinder fertilization. Washing the pellet twice with H2O removes these low molecular weight compounds, as indicated by the absence of the acrosin inhibitor, but has no effect on the antifertility properties of the pellet. Therefore, before further study or purification of the factor, it is essential that the pellet is washed to remove such low molecular weight material. The washed pellet consists of at least 7 components as judged by disc gel electrophoresis.
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