Background: Localized vaginal inflammation after contact with seminal plasma has been previously described but without a clear understanding of the underlying immunopathogenesis. The purpose of this report is to describe three women who presented with localized postcoital vaginal reactions that were successfully treated with rapid immunotherapy using human seminal plasma proteins.
Cases: One atopic and two nonatopic women with histories of immediate onset of localized postcoital vaginal symptoms and immediate skin test reactions to human seminal plasma were treated with rapid immunotherapy using their spouse's purified seminal plasma protein fractions. One of the women had decreased cutaneous reactivity post-therapy and detectable circulating specific immunoglobulin (Ig) G and IgE antibodies to her spouse's fractionated seminal plasma proteins. Increased IgG, IgE, and IgA antibodies were found in these patients' sera to whole seminal plasma of a normal male control and to fractionated proteins of different men, indicating that one or more homologous seminal plasma proteins may be responsible for these reactions. Their localized vaginal symptoms resolved completely after rapid immunotherapy treatment. Two of the women have remained symptom-free, whereas the third woman had recurrent localized vaginal symptoms after failing to maintain frequent sexual intercourse after treatment.
Conclusions: Rapid immunotherapy immediately alleviated vaginal reactions to seminal plasma in all patients. These cases indicate that the pathogenesis of some localized vaginal inflammatory reactions may involve IgE-mediated or other immune responses to human seminal plasma proteins.(Obstet Gynecol 1993;82:667-73)
From the Division of Immunology, Department of Medicine, University of Cincinnati Medical Sciences Center, Cincinnati, Ohio.
© 1993 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists