Submitted to: Animal Health Research Reviews
Publication Type: Literature Review
Publication Acceptance Date: December 5, 2007
Publication Date: January 5, 2008
Citation: Christopher-Hennings, J., Nelson, E.A., Althouse, G.C., Lunney, J.K. 2008. Comparative antiviral and proviral factors in semen and vaccines for preventing viral dissemination from the male reproductive tract and semen. Animal Health Research Reviews.8:1-11.
Many animal and human viruses are disseminated via semen, but there is little information on how to measure and stimulate protective anti-viral immunity in the male reproductive tract and semen. This information is important since successful vaccination through the stimulation of protective immune responses could be a mechanism to prevent viral contamination of semen and subsequent wide spread viral dissemination. Even control of the infection by shortening the duration of viral shedding and lowering the viral load in semen would lessen the chances of viral dissemination through this route. This review will highlight the current knowledge of immunity in the male reproductive tract and summarize “anti-viral” as well as “pro-viral” factors in semen such as cytokines, cells, antibodies, antimicrobial peptides, enzymes, hormones and growth factors. These factors must provide a fine balance between “immunosuppression” in semen needed to protect sperm viability and “immunocompetency” to prevent pathogen contamination. The review will also suggest continuing challenges to researchers for preventing viral dissemination via semen and propose a large animal model for continued research in this important area.