Immunology of the testis and male reproductive tract

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    A large body of evidence points to the existence of a close, dynamic relationship between the immune system and the male reproductive tract, which has important implications for our understanding of both systems. The testis and the male reproductive tract provide an environment that protects the otherwise highly immunogenic spermatogenic cells and sperm from immunological attack. At the same time, secretions of the testis, including androgens, influence the development and mature functions of the immune system. Activation of the immune system has negative effects on both androgen and sperm production, so that systemic or local infection and inflammation compromise male fertility. The mechanisms underlying these interactions have begun to receive the attention from reproductive biologists and immunologists that they deserve, but many crucial details remain to be uncovered. A complete picture of male reproductive tract function and its response to toxic agents is contingent upon continued exploration of these interactions and the mechanisms involved.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationComprehensive Toxicology: Reproductive and Endocrine Toxicology
    EditorsJohn Richburg, Patricia Hoyer
    Place of PublicationUS
    Pages189 - 230
    Number of pages42
    ISBN (Print)9780080468686
    Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2010


    • Cytokines
    • Immunity
    • Immunoregulation
    • Inflammation
    • Leydig cell
    • Lymphocytes
    • Macrophages
    • Nitric oxide
    • Prostanoids
    • Seminal plasma
    • Sertoli cell
    • Sperm
    • Spermatogenesis
    • Steroidogenesis
    • Toll-like receptors

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