+49 30 838 62618
Mammalian reproductive physiology and the development of viviparity co-evolved with inflammation and immunity over millennia. Many inflammatory mediators contribute to paracrine and endocrine signalling, and the maintenance of tissue homeostasis in the female reproductive tract. However, inflammation is also a feature of microbial infections of the reproductive tract. Bacteria and viruses commonly cause endometritis, perturb ovarian follicle development, and suppress the endocrine activity of the hypothalamus and pituitary in cattle. Innate immunity is an evolutionary ancient system that orchestrates host cell inflammatory response aimed at eliminating pathogens and repairing damaged tissue. Pattern recognition receptors on host cells bind pathogen-associated molecular patterns and damage-associated molecular patterns, leading to activation of intracellular MAPK and NFκB signalling pathways, and the release of inflammatory mediators. Inflammatory mediators typically include the interleukin cytokines IL-1β and IL-6, chemokines such as IL-8, interferons, and prostaglandins. This review outlines the mechanisms of inflammation and innate immunity in the bovine female reproductive tract during health and disease.