Mucosal immunology 2017 07 26() doi 10.1038/mi.2017.57
Once considered merely as a vehicle for spermatozoa, it is now clear that seminal plasma (SP) induces a variety of biological actions on the female reproductive tissues able to modulate the immune response against paternal antigens. To our knowledge, the influence of SP on the immune response against sexually transmitted pathogens has not been yet evaluated. We here analyzed whether the seminal vesicle fluid (SVF), which contributes almost 60% of the SP volume in mice, could modulate the immune response against herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). We found that SVF does not modify the course of primary infection, but markedly improved protection conferred by vaginal vaccination with inactivated HSV-2 against a lethal challenge. This protective effect was shown to be associated to a robust memory immune response mediated by CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in both the lymph nodes draining the vagina and the vaginal mucosa, the site of viral replication. In contrast with the widespread notion that SP acts as an immunosuppressive agent, our results suggest that SVF might improve the female immune response against sexually transmitted pathogens.Mucosal Immunology advance online publication 26 July 2017; doi:10.1038/mi.2017.57.