An immunotolerance for spermatozoa within the female reproductive tract is essential for their survival and the success of internal fertilization, since seminal fluid has a high antigenic potential. Human seminal plasma contains several immunosuppressive factors including prostaglandins. Recent findings  demonstrated powerful effects of PGE and 19-hydroxy-PGE on the balance of cytokines released by antigen-presenting cells. The induction of immunotolerance may be explained by stimulating IL-10 and inhibiting IL-12 production. However, defense against sexually transmitted diseases (gonorrhea, herpes, papilloma and HIV) may also be impaired by these mechanisms.
Was this article helpful?