Author Topic: Article relates intestinal permeability ('leaky gut') to sperm antibodies  (Read 7857 times)

BluesBrother

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I just came across a scientific article which relates intestinal permeability ('leaky gut') to the presence of antibodies to sperm. Many of us experience gut issues and there have been several posts which discussed the relationship between 'leaky gut' and autoimmune conditions.

The article is:

Dimitrova, Dimitrina, Svetoslav Kalaydjiev, Antonya Mendizova, Evgeniya Piryova, and Lyudmil Nakov. 2005. Circulating Antibodies to Human Spermatozoa in Patients with Ulcerative Colitis.? Fertility and Sterility 84 (5): 1533?35. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2005.05.041.

It can be found here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0015028205028153

I quote:

"In this study we confirmed our working hypothesis that IBD [inflammatory bowel diseases] results from an inappropriate and exaggerated mucosal immune response to normal constituents of the mucosal microflora, which are known to share common epitopes with human spermatozoa. Ulcerative colitis may play a role in the induction of ASA [antisperm antibody]. This is probably the result of the inflammatory process, the increased intestinal permeability in IBD patients, and immunization against dietary antigens or intestinal flora antigens, which seem to share common antigen epitopes with spermatozoa. The result of these phenomena is a statistically significant increased incidence of ASA in patients with UC [ ulcerative colitis]."

They also write:

"a number of investigators have demonstrated the presence of cross-reactivity between the antigens of spermatozoa and some microorganisms by the means of different ASA detection techniques. Common antigenicity has been established between spermatozoa and Escherichia coli, streptococcal antigens, Trichomonas vaginalis, Mycoplasma hominis, and Ureaplasma urealyticum ( 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6). The data of Kurpisz and colleagues revealed that the cross-reactivity between sperm antigens and carbohydrate antigens in the bacterial wall of some microorganisms are of special interest ( 2 and 3). As a result, systemic inflammatory responses provoke ASA production."

My ability to read and understand the medical literature is quite limited - but maybe some of us can explain what this is about?
« Last Edit: July 19, 2015, 06:03:16 AM by BluesBrother »
Used to have brain fog, flue-like symptoms, un-refreshing sleep, extreme exhaustion, muscle and joint pain, digestive problems, social anxiety, urge to urinate frequently.
Used niacin in the past. Now using nanna1's maintenance stack. Exhaustion and brain fog now main problem. 3-day POIS cycle

BluesBrother

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Used to have brain fog, flue-like symptoms, un-refreshing sleep, extreme exhaustion, muscle and joint pain, digestive problems, social anxiety, urge to urinate frequently.
Used niacin in the past. Now using nanna1's maintenance stack. Exhaustion and brain fog now main problem. 3-day POIS cycle

Quantum

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I just came across a scientific article which relates intestinal permeability ('leaky gut') to the presence of antibodies to sperm. Many of us experience gut issues and there have been several posts which discussed the relationship between 'leaky gut' and autoimmune conditions.


My ability to read and understand the medical literature is quite limited - but maybe some of us can explain what this is about?



Hi BluesBrother,

Thanks for this interesting link.  I will try to put it in more lay terms.  If you or other sitll have some questions after, I will try to answer as best as possible.

This research has been done about infertility problems ( antigens attacking human spermatozoa, both in male and in female, a proven factor contributing to fertility problems ), but seems interesting for POIS anyway.   Before talking about the study itself, I wouls like to make a general comment. This study tends to demonstrate indirectly that illnesses and health issues may share common causes, but can manifest in different way in different persons. What I mean by this is that the men in this fertility study having anti-spermatozoa antigens did not seems to have POIS ( or it was not obvious, at the least, no mention of it ), and on the opposite, POISers do not seems to necessarily have fertility problems ( I did not, for one - my wife got pregnant very promptly for each of our two children). even if an auto-immune reaction to some part of the semen is suspected in POIS.  Human health is a complex issue.

I have found the full article at http://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282%2805%2902815-3/fulltext ( I do not know why, but could only get the abstract using the link you gave). 

The hypothesis in this research is that an antigenic similarity exists between an epitope in the guts and another in the human semen, and that would be the cause of the immune system attacking some part of the semen.   An epitope ( see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epitope ) is the part of an antigen that really trigger a reaction by the immune system - this is like the "face features" or the "hair cut" that leads to recognize the antigen.  You have to keep in mind that the study is about patient having ulcerative colitis, so they have an inflammatory bowel disease, which means they have a highly activated immune system response in their guts, and the integrity of their bowel mucosa is already impaired  ( in lay terms, the immune system in their guts is already in a very messy state , so "errors" are more likely to occur )  So, if a molecule in some part of a component of the semen is similar to a known antigen epitope on a bacteria or a virus, this part of the semen can be confused for a bacterial or viral component, and be attacked by the immune system.  It is the same as if you have a similar appearance to a known public enemy, and get arrested, even if you are a good working and lawful citizen. The situation is still more complicated in the guts, because as you may know, there is a natural flora of bacteria and virus that are present there, as the natural flora, and we need this flora,  So these microorganisms have "legal vistas" , have a status of "legal alien" in our guts, and are not attacked by the immune system, because they are recognized as useful ofr us.  But when a bowel inflammatory disease is active, those aliens are not as tolerated and can be attacked by the unstable immune system.

Here is the "punch" of the study:
"In this study we confirmed our working hypothesis that IBD results from an inappropriate and exaggerated mucosal immune response to normal constituents of the mucosal microflora, which are known to share common epitopes with human spermatozoa. Ulcerative colitis may play a role in the induction of ASA. This is probably the result of the inflammatory process, the increased intestinal permeability in IBD patients, and immunization against dietary antigens or intestinal flora antigens, which seem to share common antigen epitopes with spermatozoa."   ( note:  ASA = anti-sperm antigens)

So, people with ulcerative colitis have their immune system so activated in their guts that it attacks the resident, natural flora, and while doing so , they get to attack epitopes that are similar to some epitopes found in a part of human semen, leading to cross0antigenicity. As the process goes on and on, the inflammation increases, and the mucosa becomes more and more inflamed and leaky, and even more immune reactions are triggered with allergenic food crossing the mucosa  That is the hypothesis of the search, and their results, while not proving this at 100%, tend to show that the high level of inflammation in the guts of these UC sufferers do tend to cause more auto-immune problems with semen.

What does that mean for POIS ?  Here is what I think.

I already have mentioned that for me, the development of a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle and a quality probiotics supplementation has been helping a lot with reducing my POIS symptoms ).  User Kurtosis shared the a healthier diet has been highly beneficial in reducing his POIS, too.  Colm recently have shared he had a modest but significant improvement after one year of a dietary approach.  POIS is very complicated and causes may vary from one sufferer to the other, but a healthy digestive tract can only be beneficial for overall health, anyway.   For those interested to give it a try, I summarize what changes I have done at http://poiscenter.com/forums/index.php?topic=2090.0 , and that may help them get started. 

There is no doubt ( for me, at the least) that there is an inflammatory part in POIS ( allergy-like symptoms, encephalitis-like symptoms, flu-ike symptoms, ...).  It is therefore a good idea to reduce potential  source of chronic, systemic inflammation, like what can happen in the guts.  POIS may be like pouring oil on the fire of inflammation - if the fire is smaller, the oil will have a less dramatic effect.


It may not be a complete cure for POIS to manage bowel inflammation, but I think it is better achieving an incremental improvement in our condition than waiting years for a miracle fix that may not come as soon as expected.








You are 100% responsible for what you do with anything I post on this forum and of any consequence it could have for you.  Forum rule: ""Do not use POISCenter as a substitute for, or to give, medical advice" Read the remaining part at http://poiscenter.com/forums/index.php?topic=1.msg10259#msg10259

BluesBrother

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Hi Quantum, thanks for the amazing explanation! You are very good at breaking complicated mechanisms down such that a layman can understand them.

I have some thoughts on what you wrote.


This research has been done about infertility problems ( antigens attacking human spermatozoa, both in male and in female, a proven factor contributing to fertility problems ), but seems interesting for POIS anyway.   Before talking about the study itself, I wouls like to make a general comment. This study tends to demonstrate indirectly that illnesses and health issues may share common causes, but can manifest in different way in different persons. What I mean by this is that the men in this fertility study having anti-spermatozoa antigens did not seems to have POIS ( or it was not obvious, at the least, no mention of it ), and on the opposite, POISers do not seems to necessarily have fertility problems ( I did not, for one - my wife got pregnant very promptly for each of our two children). even if an auto-immune reaction to some part of the semen is suspected in POIS. Human health is a complex issue.


If we go with the theory that an auto-immune reaction to some part of the semen is part of POIS:

1. Does the fact that

- vasectomy does not stop POIS
- POIS does not imply infertility (I have no idea about the correlation)
- increased antisperm antibodies do not imply POIS (at least not reported in the study)

mean that something else than antisperm antibodies must be involved in the autoimmune response?

2. Suppose the immune reaction is not against sperm, but against something else in the semen:

- could the mechanism described in the study still apply, i.e. immune reaction against epitopes in the gut and in semen? In other words: are there epitopes in semen that is not sperm which are similar to those in the gut?

3. Would it be possible to distinguish antisperm antibodies from antibodies against other parts of the semen using lab-testing?

What does that mean for POIS ?  Here is what I think.

I already have mentioned that for me, the development of a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle and a quality probiotics supplementation has been helping a lot with reducing my POIS symptoms ).  User Kurtosis shared the a healthier diet has been highly beneficial in reducing his POIS, too.  Colm recently have shared he had a modest but significant improvement after one year of a dietary approach.  POIS is very complicated and causes may vary from one sufferer to the other, but a healthy digestive tract can only be beneficial for overall health, anyway.   For those interested to give it a try, I summarize what changes I have done at http://poiscenter.com/forums/index.php?topic=2090.0 , and that may help them get started. 

There is no doubt ( for me, at the least) that there is an inflammatory part in POIS ( allergy-like symptoms, encephalitis-like symptoms, flu-ike symptoms, ...).  It is therefore a good idea to reduce potential  source of chronic, systemic inflammation, like what can happen in the guts.  POIS may be like pouring oil on the fire of inflammation - if the fire is smaller, the oil will have a less dramatic effect.

I very much relate to what you write. I also think that there is an inflammatory part in POIS and that impaired gut health makes POIS worth. I experience a very direct relation between ejaculation and some reaction in my gut: I used to experience winds and bloating seconds after ejaculation. Moreover, the smell of these winds tended to get much worse - to unbearable levels - when in POIS.

I also used to have more than 5 bowel movements a day for more than 10 years - which is a strong pointer towards an impaired gut. On days after ejaculation, my stool used to be close to liquid.

About a year ago I started changing my diet. I have cut out gluten and dairy - and coffee and eat no processed foods, no refined sugar, etc. - overall very similar to your diet. My digestion has improved tremendously - but I am still not quite there. Recently, taking probiotics has set me back. I'll probably write about that in a different thread. My POIS also has improved. Also, on days on which my digestion works well, ejaculation does not lead to immediate winds and the smell of my winds does not get worse when in POIS.

It may not be a complete cure for POIS to manage bowel inflammation, but I think it is better achieving an incremental improvement in our condition than waiting years for a miracle fix that may not come as soon as expected.

I am also not waiting for a miracle. Fixing my gut is something in which I can take an active role now - it will be beneficial for my general well-being - and most likely also for POIS. And while I don't believe in miracles, I think that bit by bit we can and will make progress on understanding POIS (I guess, you feel the same?).
« Last Edit: July 20, 2015, 04:11:26 PM by BluesBrother »
Used to have brain fog, flue-like symptoms, un-refreshing sleep, extreme exhaustion, muscle and joint pain, digestive problems, social anxiety, urge to urinate frequently.
Used niacin in the past. Now using nanna1's maintenance stack. Exhaustion and brain fog now main problem. 3-day POIS cycle

Quantum

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Hi Quantum, thanks for the amazing explanation! You are very good at breaking complicated mechanisms down such that a layman can understand them.

Thank you for your kind words, Blues Brothers :)

You bring very interesting points in your comments.

You ask "are there epitopes in semen that is not sperm which are similar to those in the gut?', so that the mechanism talked about in the study could also apply in POIS, even if the hypersensitivity reactions is not caused by spermatozoa. Nobody has the answer, it would take a lot of tests and research to investigate about this. But for sure, it would be very interesting to pinpoint what, exactly, in POIS, is the initial trigger of the inflammation reaction.

I am also glad for you to hear that your dietary changes has helped in reducing your POIS symptoms.

About your last comment, I am totally with you, I also believe that we will slowly, but surely, get to understand POIS better, and thus, being able to treat it better.  Maybe my mention of "not waiting for a miracle fix" was a bit overly dramatic....hehehe.... but I am quite happy for now just to have develop a fairly sure way to reduce and avoid most of the symptoms of my POIS, and got there bit by bit, with trial and errors, through many years of testing.  Maybe for the younger POIS sufferers, there will be more help from the mainstream medical world, but there has not been a lot for my last 37 years with POIS, so while I am still open to any research development, I am glad to have found at least some way to understand and relieve my own POIS symptoms.  I am also glad that this forum exists, it has given me some good ideas and new things to try, and help me refine my prevention method.  The ongoing study is just a plus, and it can bring very interesting insights about the nature of POIS, but meanwhile, I am glad just to be able to live a more normal life.


You are 100% responsible for what you do with anything I post on this forum and of any consequence it could have for you.  Forum rule: ""Do not use POISCenter as a substitute for, or to give, medical advice" Read the remaining part at http://poiscenter.com/forums/index.php?topic=1.msg10259#msg10259

Colm

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Blues Brother & Quantum,

Thanks so much for the time taken to share another very valuable discussion above.

It's really interesting and also another opportunity for forum members to evaluate the dietary/nutritional and gut related approaches that (I am starting to believe even more) can create a balanced environment within us to allow natural healing to occur at the root level of POIS, while also helping with symptom reduction.

Like Quantum and many others here, POIS has been a long term chronic problem, in spite of which I have also managed to live a family life, bring up two children and hang in there, navigating a career that allowed flexibility to health needs (and made a living).

I wanted to add that I am also still hopeful on some of the evolving positive signs in following the advice of the nutritionist who has supported me in the last year to understand that because I had this condition for so long, that it wasn't going to be any miracle or quick fix in sorting it out through a nutritional approach. Eliminating certain foods (mainly milk) was the main focus in the first few months. 

Quantum's detailed understanding of diet/lifestyle changes, specifically the "why of using specific supplements" is an extremely valuable contribution IMO. Other people's knowledge and contributions have also motivated me to hang in on this nutritional strategy, where I am still quite hopeful about the gradual results that I seem to be experiencing from this natural strategy.

I will post again properly when I feel on more solid ground about the long term gains from these strategies, but I recommend that as one of your choices in healing, that you do evaluate Quantum's posts and also Kurtosis more recent one on his assertion of how he had been cured of POIS. I know we all have different "types" of POIS, but these approaches can't do you harm (with a balanced approach). Unfortunately they require a commitment and habit change, and also can involve some financial investment in proper food and particularly the supplements.

There are many others who help here on this and NSF with the more scientific oriented explanations. Thank you, I guess we are all learning loads and I trust the research teams (the good Drs K&W) will make connections between user community findings and experiences and the probable connection on the inflammatory piece with their theories around Vagal Dystonia.

Just to say Dr, House isn't a real doctor!!! Rome wasn't built in a day! Patience is a virtue and all that. It is very hard to believe that when in POIS. Back to Dr. House (FYI, a TV series about an unbelievable entertaining Dr.  He solves mysterious ailments in one episode. However, bringing together multiple related medical theories and connections doesn't get resolved by a team in 45 minutes or probably 45 weeks. it is possible that no matter how much effort the Rutgers study puts in here, the outputs won't be a cure. I'm saying I think any magic pill that comes along in the next couple of years may only be a symptom reduction pill. As a community there's a mass of knowledge now here for guys who suffer, to support each other in building some underlying immune system strength. I am sensing that (building our immune system to fight against what attacks it), is where the long term sustainable health lies.

There are definitely lots of evolving symptom control and symptom reduction products and techniques also being contributed as they have been by Daveman, Demo and many others over many years.

It is like a 3 legged stool, Symptom reduction, Long Term Health re-build & continuing research.

All the best.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2015, 04:01:25 AM by Colm »