Document Detail

Why are sperm cells phagocytosed by leukocytes in the female genital tract?
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  12615529     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
When mammalian sperm cells enter the female genital tract, many of them are attacked and phagocytosed by leukocytes and epithelial cells. Although this intriguing phenomenon is known for almost five decades, there is no satisfactory explanation for it. Here, on the basis of recent information on the nature of the capacitated stage of mammalian sperm cells, that is, the sperm's stage of readiness for fertilizing the egg, I put forward the hypothesis that the phagocytosed sperm cells are post-capacitated cells. These cells, which lost their fertilizing ability and became functionless, apparently recruit leukocytes and then undergo apoptosis and phagocytosis and, thereby, are removed from the female genital tract. This fast removal probably prevents severe inflammation that could have been caused by necrotic products of sperm cells that remain functionless in the tract.
Michael Eisenbach
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Medical hypotheses     Volume:  60     ISSN:  0306-9877     ISO Abbreviation:  Med. Hypotheses     Publication Date:  2003 Apr 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2003-03-04     Completed Date:  2003-12-05     Revised Date:  2004-11-17    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7505668     Medline TA:  Med Hypotheses     Country:  Scotland    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  590-2     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
Copyright 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd.
The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.
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MeSH Terms
Leukocytes / metabolism*
Models, Biological
Spermatozoa / metabolism*
Urogenital System / metabolism

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