Possible role of autoimmunity to spermatozoa in idiopathic infertility of stallions. Academic Article uri icon


  • Testicular degeneration is a major cause of subfertility in stallions, although an aetiological diagnosis cannot be made in most cases. In the present study, autoimmune testicular degeneration was induced and evaluated in stallions by immunizing stallions with their own spermatozoa mixed with an adjuvant. The factors evaluated included changes in semen quality and testicular histology. A large decrease in sperm number and quality was observed in response to sperm autoantigens. An ELISA test specific for antisperm antibodies was developed which enabled antibody titres in serum, seminal plasma and accessory sex organs to be measured. Serum antibodies were characterized as being specific for spermatozoa by absorption studies and western blotting. The data obtained and the tests developed in the present study provide a better understanding of the disease in subfertile breeding stallions and the ability to diagnose the disease using ELISA. The results of a clinical trial demonstrate that there is a higher incidence of antisperm antibodies in subfertile stallions compared with fertile stallions. The results of the present study indicate that autoimmunity to spermatozoa plays a role in idiopathic subfertility in stallions. A potentially useful method for tentative diagnosis of autoimmune testicular degeneration in subfertile stallions was also developed.

published proceedings

  • J Reprod Fertil Suppl

author list (cited authors)

  • Kenney, R. M., Cummings, M. R., Teuscher, C., & Love, C. C.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Kenney, RM||Cummings, MR||Teuscher, C||Love, CC

publication date

  • January 2000