- This study is the first to shed light on the role of sperm.
- Sperm sends signals to alter tolerance in a woman’s immune response pathways.
- Factors that can affect semen quality can have more serious consequences for the health of a pregnancy than previously thought.
Sperm was long seen as having only one effect in reproduction, that is, fertilization of a woman’s egg, and it is also able to send signals to the female reproductive tissues for acceptance by the immune system. In this way, you increase the chances of fertilization. The discovery, made by Australian researchers at the University of Adelaide, was presented May 14 in the journal Communication Biology.
A role that has been so far ignored
This study is the first to shed light on the role of sperm. “This research is the first of its kind to show that the female immune response is co-opted by signals in the sperm to allow the male partner to fertilize his eggs and conceive.Sarah Robertson, who led the study, said. It disrupts our current understanding of what sperm is capable of. They are not only carriers of the genetic material but also agents of persuading the female to invest reproductive resources with this male.. “
Previous studies have shown that semen proteins modulate the immune response at pregnancy to encourage her body to accept the alien fetus. It is not yet known if sperm influenced this response. To find out, the researchers evaluated the effects on general gene expression in the uterus of a mouse after mating by comparing males with healthy sperm and males who underwent a vasectomy.
Sperm health is important to a baby’s health
The results showed that healthy sperm caused greater changes in the female genetics. This was particularly evident in immune response pathways that produced greater tolerability than females that mated with males who had been vasectomy. By examining the effects of sperm’s interactions with female cells in cell culture experiments, the researchers confirmed that sperms are directly responsible for the changes.
This result is important because it indicates that sperm health is not only important for conception but also affects the chances of conceiving a healthy baby. Factors such as age, diet, weight, alcohol, and smoking, as well as exposure to environmental chemicals can affect semen quality in men, and so can have greater consequences for pregnancy health than previously thought. “The realization that sperm influences reproductive events other than simple fertilization of eggs shows that sperm quality can have implications for pregnancy health after conception.Sarah Robertson continues. Conditions such as recurrent miscarriage, preeclampsia, premature births and stillbirths are affected by the woman’s immune response in a way that the partner’s sperm contributes.. “