Immune and endocrine aspects of the testis and its relation to male infertility
Keywords:Testis, Immune- privilege, Blood-testis barrier, Immune defensive mechanism, Immunologic infertility, Reproduction, Male Impotency
Spermatogenesis and steroidogenesis are the two important functions of the testis which are controlled by the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis of the body. Presence of blood-testis barrier (BTB) in the seminiferous tubules as well as the immune components of the interstitial space also maintains remarkable immune privileged microenvironment in the testis. This helps the sperm autoantigens to escape from the immune attack. The testis also has its own innate immune defensive mechanism to combat against male reproductive tract infection. There are many local immune modulators which maintain the immune privilege and regulate the innate immune mechanism of the testis. Factors like Infection and inflammatory conditions, endocrine disruptors, heat stress, Reactive Oxygen Species, Reactive Nitrogen Species may have impact on the BTB integrity and may finally lead to immunologic infertility. An insight into biomolecules associated with spermatozoal immune mechanism may generate inputs to develop diagnostic tools and modulate fertility.