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Keywords:

  • Immunosuppression;
  • phagocytosis;
  • rat prostatic steroid binding protein;
  • reactive oxygen species

Problem:  To determine whether prostatein, the major protein produced and secreted into the seminal fluid by the rat ventral prostate has any effect on the phagocytic cell functions in vitro.

Method of study:  Analysis was done by determining if purified prostatein added to cells obtained from the peritoneal cavity has any effect on their phagocytic and intracellular killing capacity. Also, we analyzed the effect of prostatein on the production of oxygen and nitrogen intermediates, measuring these metabolites by Nitroblue tetrazolium assay and by the Griess reaction respectively.

Results:  Prostatein possess the ability to inhibit in vitro the phagocytic and killing properties of peritoneal rat leukocytes in a dose-dependent manner. The addition of a polyclonal antiserum against prostatein specifically blocks this inhibitory effect. Moreover, prostatein inhibits the production of oxygen and nitrogen intermediates by these cells.

Conclusion:  Regulation of the production of reactive oxygen species in the reproductive tract is extremely necessary to avoid their deleterious effects on the sperm motility and the fertilization process. We propose that prostatein, a protein supplied by an accessory gland like prostate, can inhibit the macrophage function, showing an important antioxidant effect.