Proteomic Analysis of Seminal and Vaginal Fluid for Developing Improved Biomarkers in Contraceptive Research

Andrzej Kulczycki, University of Alabama at Birmingham
William E. Grizzle, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Denise K. Oelschlager, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Biomarkers are increasingly being adopted in clinical, public health and social science research. Semen markers, notably prostate-specific antigen (PSA), can help determine if intercourse took place and if it was protected. They can reduce reliance on self-reported sexual behavior and expedite development of new contraceptives and microbicides. However, each proposed biomarker has known disadvantages. Second-generation biomarkers of semen exposure are needed. We report on a novel study that recruited 17 couples to determine the feasibility of using a proteomics approach to examine semen exposure in women as well as to assess the feasibility of investigating exposure to vaginal fluid in men. Samples were assayed for the SELDI-TOF-MS system to identify seminal proteins. Multiple protein peaks were observed in the mixed signals seen from women and men after intercourse, indicating that the application of the SELDI-TOF-MS system for semen analysis works and that this method has great potential for further analysis.

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Presented in Poster Session 2