Innate immunity and disorders of the female reproductive tract

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

Abstract

Sexually transmitted infections, and their associated sequelae, such as tubal infertility, ectopic pregnancy and preterm labour, are a major worldwide health problem. Chlamydia trachomatis infection is thought to be the leading global cause of tubal infertility and tubal ectopic pregnancy. Preterm birth occurs in around 10% of all deliveries, and nearly 30% of preterm deliveries are associated with intrauterine infection. The mucosal innate immune system of the female reproductive tract has evolved to eliminate such sexually transmitted pathogens whilst maintaining its ability to accommodate specialized physiological functions that include menstruation, fertilization, implantation, pregnancy and parturition. The aim of this review was to describe the role and distribution of key mediators of the innate immune system, the natural antimicrobial peptides (secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor, elafin and the defensins) and the pattern recognition toll-like receptors in the normal female reproductive tract and in the context of these pathological processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)739-49
Number of pages11
JournalReproduction
Volume135
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008

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