This is a truly amazing case: a woman was made allergic to her husband’s sperm after being sensitized by her dog.
The events are reported by a French team (CHU de Lille). The woman in question is in her sixties, married for forty years. She normally has regular sex with her husband, without using a condom. Several times over the course of a few months, she presented an acute reaction after intercourse: swelling of the face, cough, itching in the throat.
As Le Monde explains, an allergic report reveals the presence of blood antibodies (IgE) specific to the seminal fluid, and in the absence of other elements, doctors conclude that the woman had a sperm allergy. But because of what, since it is relatively recent?
Further analysis shows the presence of a dog protein, canine prostatic kallikrein (Can f 5), present in the animal’s hair and urine. However, this canine protein has a structure similar to human prostatic kallikrein, involved in the allergic reaction to sperm.
Then, it turns out that the couple has owned a female dog for several years, and a male bichon for a year. And the lady’s troubles started shortly after the male was acquired. The circle is complete: the dog has sensitized the woman, who has developed an allergy to her husband’s sperm due to the molecular proximity of animal and human protein. A cross allergy therefore. Since the diagnosis, the man wears a condom, and the lady no longer has allergic symptoms.
Mandell is currently working towards a medical degree from the University of Central Florida. His main passions include kayaking, playing soccer and tasting good food. He covers mostly science, health and environmental stories for the Scientific Origin.