The role of protein C inhibitor in human reproduction.

Article Details


Espana F, Navarro S, Medina P, Zorio E, Estelles A

The role of protein C inhibitor in human reproduction.

Semin Thromb Hemost. 2007 Feb;33(1):41-5.

PubMed ID
17253188 [ View in PubMed

Protein C inhibitor (PCI) is a heparin-dependent serine protease inhibitor found in human plasma, urine, and other body fluids. In blood plasma, PCI is present at approximately 0.08 microM and inactivates activated protein C and other coagulation and fibrinolytic enzymes. In seminal plasma, PCI is present at 2.2 to 3.7 microM. The main sources of seminal PCI are the seminal vesicles, where it remains fully active. Following ejaculation, PCI completely looses its activity in approximately 2 hours, when it partially complexes with prostate-specific antigen, two plasminogen activators (urokinase-type and tissue-type plasminogen activators), and tissue kallikrein. PCI is also present in an active form in follicular fluid at approximately 0.1 microM. Purified functionally active human blood plasma-derived as well as inactive semen-derived PCI inhibited both binding and penetration of zona-free hamster oocytes by human sperm. The binding inhibition by PCI was dose dependent. A concentration of 0.04 microM PCI (approximately 100-fold lower than that present in seminal plasma) inhibited 50% of the binding and penetration ability. Given that capacitated sperm used for in vitro fertilization usually contains more than 0.05 microM of PCI, fertilization rates might be significantly reduced. All of these data suggest that PCI is involved in human reproduction at several steps, including the fertilization process.

DrugBank Data that Cites this Article

Drug Targets
DrugTargetKindOrganismPharmacological ActionActions
UrokinasePlasma serine protease inhibitorProteinHumans