Author(s): Lea RG, Sandra O
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Abstract Effective ovarian and uterine function relies on a complex interplay between the endocrine and immune systems. It is generally accepted that in reproductive tissues, oestradiol and progesterone have pro- and anti-inflammatory activities respectively and, in this regard, the paracrine effects of the sex steroids on the ovary are similar to the endocrine effects on the uterus. Ovarian leukocyte recruitment and cytokine release are central to follicle development, ovulation and corpus luteum function. At the uterine level, the cyclical changes in sex steroids regulate the number and distribution of endometrial and decidual immune cells as well as other immune signalling and surveillance factors. The uterine mucosa is unique, in that it must tolerate sperm and the allogeneic blastocyst in a way that does not compromise uterine immune surveillance against bacteria, yeast and viruses. Crosstalk between the sex steroids and immune mediators (systemic and local) are central to these functions, and this article will review these mechanisms and their importance for successful reproductive function and pregnancy success.
This article was published in Reproduction
and referenced in Journal of Fertilization: In Vitro - IVF-Worldwide, Reproductive Medicine, Genetics & Stem Cell Biology