Presence of alpha1-antitrypsin and transferrin in human follicular fluid--correlation with fertilization

Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol. 2002 Sep;133(1):105-11. doi: 10.1016/s1096-4959(02)00111-2.


We purified two proteins with molecular masses of approximately 50 kDa and 80 kDa with N-terminal sequences similar to those of alpha1-antitrypsin (a1AT) and transferrin indicating that they are identical to or highly homologous to these proteins. Proteins from human follicular fluid were purified after ammonium sulfate fractionation followed by water dialysis and High Performance Liquid Chromatography. The fraction of peak 3 showed a single band on electrophoresis and its N-terminal amino acid sequence was similar to that of human serum transferrin. The fraction of peak 10 proved to be a glycoprotein and its N-terminal amino acid sequence was similar to that of human serum a1AT. There are indications that transferrin may be involved in the fertilization process. Sperm motion was assessed employing computer-assisted semen analysis. The addition of purified protein to prepared sperm samples from normospermic men significantly increases the straight-line velocity (VSL), the amplitude of lateral head displacement (ALH) and the number of progressively motile sperm. a1AT does not seem to have a stimulatory effect on sperm motility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Fertilization*
  • Follicular Fluid / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sequence Analysis, Protein
  • Sequence Homology
  • Sperm Motility / drug effects
  • Transferrin / isolation & purification*
  • Transferrin / pharmacology
  • Transferrin / physiology
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin / isolation & purification*
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin / pharmacology
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin / physiology


  • Transferrin
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin