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Seminal fluid factors regulate activin A and follistatin synthesis in female cervical epithelial cells.

Molecular and cellular endocrinology (2015-09-30)
David J Sharkey, John E Schjenken, David G Mottershead, Sarah A Robertson
ABSTRACT

Seminal fluid induces pro-inflammatory cytokines and elicits an inflammation-like response in the cervix. Here, Affymetrix microarray and qPCR was utilised to identify activin A (INHBA) and its inhibitor follistatin (FST) amongst the cytokines induced by seminal plasma in Ect1 ectocervical epithelial cells, and a similar response was confirmed in primary ectocervical epithelial cells. TGFB is abundant in seminal plasma and all three TGFB isoforms induced INHBA in Ect1 and primary cells, and neutralisation of TGFB in seminal plasma suppressed the INHBA response. Bacterial lipopolysaccharide in seminal plasma also elicited INHBA, but potently suppressed FST production. There was moderate reciprocal inhibition between FST and INHBA, and cross-attenuating effects were seen. These data identify TGFB and potentially LPS as factors mediating seminal plasma-induced INHBA synthesis in cervical cells. INHBA and FST induced by seminal fluid in cervical tissues may thus contribute to regulation of the post-coital response in women.

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