The mammalian uterus faces unique immunological challenges. It must nurture and protect the semiallogenic fetus from attack by the maternal immune system while guarding against infection by pathogens that compromise fetal and maternal health. Complement has recently been implicated in the etiology of pregnancy loss, but its regulation by steroid hormones and its role in host defense in the uterus are not clearly defined. Here we use biochemical, functional, and physiological assays to elucidate the regulation of complement proteins in the rat uterus. We demonstrate that estrogens (17 beta-estradiol) and glucocorticoids (dexamethasone) have major, but opposing, effects on the amount and latent activity of complement effectors in the uterus. Treatment with 17 beta-estradiol induced vasodilation and an increase in vascular permeability, which resulted in extravasation of plasma and complement into the uterus, rather than de novo complement biosynthesis. In vitro assays revealed that 17 beta-estradiol induced a potent bactericidal activity in uterine luminal fluid and that the antibacterial component was complement. These proinflammatory and immunomodulatory effects were evident within 4 h of treatment and were blocked by coadministration of dexamethasone. We also found that estrogen effects on the vasculature were mediated in part by activation of the contact system and bradykinin B1 receptors. These results indicate that complement plays a central role in innate immunity in the female reproductive tract and suggest that estrogens or glucocorticoids might be used therapeutically to enhance or inhibit complement-dependent processes in the uterus.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.