Spermadhesins are a group of (glyco)proteins from seminal fluid involved in various aspects of porcine fertilization. PSP-I/PSP-II, a heterodimer of glycosylated spermadhesins, is the major component of porcine seminal fluid. Its biological function remains, however, enigmatic. Using an in vitro chemotaxis assay, we showed that PSP-I/PSP-II and its isolated subunits induced migration of purified neutrophils. A possible proinflammatory activity of PSP-I/PSP-II induced upon injection of the spermadhesin heterodimer and its isolated subunits into the peritoneal cavity of rats was investigated. Lavage of peritoneal cavities, thioglycolate treatment, and mast cell depletion were done before spermadhesin administration, and neutrophil migration was evaluated 4 h after injections. Pharmacological modulation was also investigated. Resident cell depletion by lavage reduced the neutrophil migration induced by PSP-I/PSP-II and the PSP-II subunit but had no effect on that induced by isolated PSP-I. Both an increase of macrophage population by thioglycolate treatment and mast cell depletion potentiated the neutrophil migration induced by PSP-I/PSP-II and by PSP-II. The glucocorticoid dexamethasone but not indomethacin (cyclooxygenase inhibitor), MK886 (leukotriene inhibitor), and BN50739 (platelet activation factor [PAF] antagonist) inhibited neutrophil migration induced by PSP-I/PSP-II. Coincubation with mannose-6-phosphate (a PSP-II-specific ligand) inhibited neutrophil recruitment induced by PSP-II but did not alter the PSP-I activity. As a whole, the data suggested that enhancement of the neutrophil migration-inducing activity of PSP-I/PSP-II and PSP-II involved an indirect mechanism, i.e., via activation of resident cells, probably macrophages. On the other hand, PSP-I appeared to act directly on neutrophils. We hypothesize that the neutrophil migration-inducing effect displayed by PSP-II might be due to interaction of its lectin domain with cellular receptors and that neutrophil recruitment induced by PSP-I may involve protein-protein interactions.
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