Correlation between peripheral blood and follicular fluid autoantibodies and impact on in vitro fertilization

Albert El-Roeiy*, Norbert Gleicher, Jan Friberg, Edmond Confino, Alan Dudkiewicz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Total immunoglobulins, C3 and C4 complement, and autoantibodies to phospholipid antigens, histones, histone subfractions, and nucleotides were measured in serum and follicular fluids of 26 patients undergoing in vitro fertilization. Immunoglobulins and complement fractions appeared in statistically lower concentrations in follicular fluid than in serum. This gradient was clearly larger for immunoglobulin M (IgM) than for IgG, IgA, C3, or C4. Ten patients who were autoantibody positive to one or more of the evaluated antigens demonstrated statistically higher total IgG and IgM levels and lower C3 and C4 than 16 autoantibody negative patients. With regard to follicular fluid, positive patients had significantly elevated IgM levels in comparison with negative control patients, and significantly decreased C3 and C4 concentrations. Patients who were autoantibody positive in serum also exhibited uniformly abnormal follicular fluid autoantibodies. Positive patients had significantly higher IgG antiphospholipid antibodies in follicular fluid than controls, and demonstrated a similar trend for IgM and IgA antiphospholipid antibodies. Positive patients demonstrated no significant differences from negative patients in number of in vitro fertilization attempts, number of oocytes retrieved, fertilization rate, cleavage rate, and number of abnormal (granular) oocytes. However, positive patients experienced a lower pregnancy rate (5.4%) than negative patients (26.1%), although the difference did not reach statistical significance (P =.07). This observation strongly suggests that the presence of abnormal autoantibodies in the female may reduce the chance of pregnancy for in vitro fertilization patients. A similar effect of abnormal autoantibodies can then also be expected in attempts at spontaneous conception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-170
Number of pages8
JournalObstetrics and gynecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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