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Modulatory Effects of Bovine Seminal Plasma on Uterine Inflammatory Processes


Author’s address (for correspondence): H Zerbe, Clinic for Ruminants, LMU Munich, Sonnenstrasse 16, 85764 Oberschleissheim, Germany. E-mail:


In this study, a simple model to simulate a uterine environment affected by subclinical endometritis was established by culturing isolated primary bovine uterine epithelial cells (pbUEC). Co-incubation of pbUEC and polymorphonuclear (PMN) granulocytes derived from peripheral bovine blood samples, was performed before testing the cell culture supernatant for production of interleukin-8 (IL-8) via ELISA. Cytokine secretion was only detectable after co-incubation of pbUEC with PMN, whereas neither pbUEC nor PMN alone generated IL-8 in relevant chemo attractive doses. Another objective was to examine the influence of bovine seminal plasma (SP) and vesicular gland fluid (VGF) on various functional parameters of PMN including cell viability, production of reactive oxygen species and chemotaxis. Analysis of these effects was conducted by flow cytometry. Viability of PMN was determined by staining the cells with propidium iodide. Seminal plasma was added to suspensions of PMN in increasing increments and resulted in a significant increase of cell membrane damaged PMN when using SP concentrations above 0.2%. The reactive oxygen species production of PMN suspensions, stimulated with phorbol-12-myristate-13-acetate, was significantly decreased by 30% up to 90% when adding 0.06–30‰ of either SP or VGF. The PMN transmigration induced by IL-8 was diminished by 50% when 0.4‰ of either SP or VGF were added. The results of this study indicate a potential regulatory impact of SP and VGF on inflammatory processes in the bovine uterus.