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Journal of Immunology Research
Volume 2016, Article ID 9707252, 13 pages
Review Article

Seminal Fluid-Mediated Inflammation in Physiology and Pathology of the Female Reproductive Tract

1Division of Immunology, Department of Pathology, University of Cape Town, Faculty of Health Sciences, Observatory 7925, South Africa
2International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology and Department of Integrative Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Observatory 7925, South Africa
3MRC/UCT Receptor Biology Research Unit, Department of Integrative Biomedical Sciences and Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Observatory 7925, South Africa
4SAMRC Gynaecology Cancer Research Centre, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Observatory 7925, South Africa

Received 26 January 2016; Revised 26 May 2016; Accepted 29 May 2016

Academic Editor: Jacek Tabarkiewicz

Copyright © 2016 Anthonio O. Adefuye et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Inflammation is a multifaceted process involving a host of resident and recruited immune cells that eliminate the insult or injury and initiate tissue repair. In the female reproductive tract (FMRT), inflammation-mediated alterations in epithelial, vascular, and immune functions are important components of complex physiological processes and many local and systemic pathologies. It is well established that intracoital and postcoital function of seminal fluid (SF) goes beyond nutritive support for the spermatozoa cells. SF, in particular, the inflammatory bioactive lipids, and prostaglandins present in vast quantities in SF, have a role in localized immune modulation and regulation of pathways that can exacerbate inflammation in the FMRT. In sexually active women SF-mediated inflammation has been implicated in physiologic processes such as ovulation, implantation, and parturition while also enhancing tumorigenesis and susceptibility to infection. This review highlights the molecular mechanism by which SF regulates inflammatory pathways in the FMRT and how alterations in these pathways contribute to physiology and pathology of the female reproductive function. In addition, based on findings from TaqMan® 96-Well Plate Arrays, on neoplastic cervical cells treated with SF, we discuss new findings on the role of SF as a potent driver of inflammatory and tumorigenic pathways in the cervix.