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Type: Journal article
Title: TLR4 signaling is a major mediator of the female tract response to seminal fluid in mice
Author: Schjenken, J.
Glynn, D.
Sharkey, D.
Robertson, S.
Citation: Biology of Reproduction, 2015; 93(3):68-1-68-13
Publisher: Society for the Study of Reproduction
Issue Date: 2015
ISSN: 0006-3363
Statement of
John E. Schjenken, Danielle J. Glynn, David J. Sharkey, and Sarah A. Robertson
Abstract: Seminal fluid interacts with epithelial cells lining the female reproductive tract to induce expression of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines, initiating immune tolerance mechanisms to facilitate pregnancy. TGFB cytokines are key signaling agents in seminal plasma but do not fully account for the female response to seminal fluid. We hypothesized that additional molecular pathways are utilized in seminal fluid signaling. Affymetrix microarray was employed to compare gene expression in the endometrium of mice 8 h after mating with either intact males or seminal fluid deficient (SVX/VAS) males. Bioinformatics analysis revealed TLR4 signaling as a strongly predicted upstream regulator activated by the differentially expressed genes and implicated TGFB signaling as a second key pathway. Quantitative PCR and microbead data confirmed that seminal fluid induces endometrial synthesis of several TLR4-regulated cytokines and chemokines, including CSF3, CXCL1, CXCL2, IL1A, IL6, LIF, and TNF. In primary uterine epithelial cells, CSF3, CXCL1, and CXCL2 were strongly induced by the TLR4 ligand LPS but suppressed by TGFB, while IL1A, TNF, and CSF2 were induced by both ligands. TLR4 was confirmed as essential for the full endometrial cytokine response using mice with a null mutation in Tlr4, where seminal fluid failed to induce endometrial Csf3, Cxcl2, Il6, and Tnf expression. This study provides evidence that TLR4 contributes to seminal fluid modulation of the periconception immune environment. Activation of TLR4 signaling by microbial or endogenous components of seminal fluid is thus implicated as a key element of the female tract response to seminal fluid at the outset of pregnancy in mice.
Keywords: chemokine; cytokine; endometrium; seminal fluid; toll-like receptor
Rights: © 2015 by the Society for the Study of Reproduction, Inc. This is an Open Access article, freely available through Biology of Reproduction's Authors' Choice option.
RMID: 0030031613
DOI: 10.1095/biolreprod.114.125740
Appears in Collections:Obstetrics and Gynaecology publications

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