Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Scopus Web of Science® Altmetric
Type: Journal article
Title: Semen activates the female immune response during early pregnancy in mice
Author: Johansson, M.
Bromfield, J.
Jasper, M.
Robertson, S.
Citation: Immunology, 2004; 112(2):290-300
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Issue Date: 2004
ISSN: 0019-2805
Statement of
Martina Johansson, John J. Bromfield, Melinda J. Jasper & Sarah A. Robertson
Abstract: Insemination elicits inflammatory changes in female reproductive tissues, but whether this results in immunological priming to paternal antigens or influences pregnancy outcome is not clear. We have evaluated indices of lymphocyte activation in lymph nodes draining the uterus following allogeneic mating in mice and have investigated the significance of sperm and plasma constituents of semen in the response. At 4 days after mating, there was a 17-fold increase in the cellularity of the para-aortic lymph node (PALN) compared with virgin controls. PALN lymphocytes were principally T and B lymphocytes, with smaller populations of CD3+ B220lo, NK1.1+ CD3– (NK) and NK1.1+ CD3+ (NKT) cells. CD69 expression indicative of activation was increased after mating and was most evident in CD3+ and NK1.1+ cells. Synthesis of cytokines including interleukin-2, interleukin-4 and interferon-γ was elevated in CD3+ PALN cells after exposure to semen, as assessed by intracellular cytokine fluorescence-activated cell sorting, immunohistochemistry and quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. Matings with vasectomized males indicated that the lymphocyte activation occurs independently of sperm. However, in contrast, males from which seminal vesicle glands were surgically removed failed to stimulate PALN cell proliferation or cytokine synthesis. Adoptive transfer experiments using radiolabelled lymphocytes from mated mice showed that lymphocytes activated at insemination home to embryo implantation sites in the uterus as well as other mucosal tissues and lymph nodes. These findings indicate that activation and expansion of female lymphocyte populations occurs after mating, and is triggered by constituents of seminal plasma derived from the seminal vesicle glands. Moreover, lymphocytes activated at insemination may help mediate maternal tolerance of the conceptus in the implantation site.
Keywords: Uterus
Lymph Nodes
Mice, Inbred BALB C
Mice, Inbred C57BL
Lymphocyte Activation
Cell Movement
Immunity, Mucosal
Pregnancy, Animal
CD3 Complex
Description: The definitive version is available at
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2567.2004.01876.x
Published version:
Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 4
Obstetrics and Gynaecology publications

Files in This Item:
There are no files associated with this item.

Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.