Survey of zona pellucida antigens for immunocontraception of cats

Theriogenology. 2005 Mar 15;63(5):1334-41. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2004.07.015.


The purpose of this study was to screen a panel of native zona pellucida (ZP) antigens isolated from five mammalian species for immunocontraceptive activity in the cat (Felis catus). Native soluble-isolated ZP (SIZP) was prepared from the ovaries of cows (bZP), cats (fZP), ferrets (feZP), dogs (cZP), and mink (mZP). Vaccines were constructed using SIZP from each of the above species encapsulated in liposomes suspended in saline and emulsified with Freund's complete adjuvant (SpayVac). Female cats were immunized once (n = 3 cats per group). Serum was collected for determination of antibody titers against SIZP and for binding of antibodies to feline ovaries. All cats responded to immunization by producing anti-SIZP antibodies. The most immunogenic SIZP in cats was from mink, followed by feZP, cZP, and fZP in descending order. Antibodies had low reactivity for fZP, and no reactivity against feline ovaries was detected by immunohistochemistry. A breeding trial was commenced 20 weeks after immunization. All cats became pregnant, averaging 4.1 +/- 0.7 viable kittens per litter. We have previously shown that porcine SIZP is not an effective antigen for immunocontraception of cats. In this study, SIZP from five other mammalian species were immunogenic in the cat, but ZP antibodies failed to bind to fZP in situ, and fertility was not impeded.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / blood
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Antigens / chemistry*
  • Antigens / immunology*
  • Breeding
  • Cats*
  • Cattle / immunology
  • Contraception, Immunologic / veterinary*
  • Dogs / immunology
  • Female
  • Ferrets / immunology
  • Immunization / veterinary
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mink / immunology
  • Ovary / immunology
  • Pregnancy
  • Species Specificity
  • Swine / immunology
  • Zona Pellucida / immunology*


  • Antibodies
  • Antigens