Immunosuppression by seminal plasma from fertile and infertile men: Inhibition of natural killer cell function correlates with seminal PG concentration

R. W. Kelly, A. J. Quayle, E. M. Wallace, F. C.W. Wu, T. B. Hargreave, K. James

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Human seminal plasma has uniquely high concentrations of PGE and 19-hydroxy PGE but the function of these PGs has not been elucidated. PGs of the E series have been shown to be paracrine and autocrine regulators of the function of immune cells and high levels of PGE have been shown consistently to suppress function in such cells. Human seminal plasma has a potent immunosuppressive effect and evidence is accumulating that this is largely due to PG components. In this study the effects of human seminal plasma on the killing activity of natural killer (NK) cells as judged by 51Cr release from K562 cells have been studied in groups of fertile and infertile men. Although there was no significant difference in the PGE, 19-hydroxy PGE or the NK cell inhibitory activity in the two groups, the inhibition of NK cell activity was closely correlated with the PGE and the 19-OH PGE content of the seminal plasma in the fertile group. This finding is further evidence that the major contribution to the immunosuppressive properties of human semen is provide by the high concentration of PGs of the E series in this fluid.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-260
Number of pages4
JournalProstaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1991
Externally publishedYes

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