The human cationic antimicrobial protein (hCAP-18) is expressed in the epithelium of human epididymis, is present in seminal plasma at high concentrations, and is attached to spermatozoa

Johan Malm, Ole Sörensen, Terese Persson, M Frohm-Nilsson, Bengt Johansson, Anders Bjartell, H Lilja, Mona Stahle-Backdahl, Niels Borregaard, Arne Egesten

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182 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Innate immunity is important for the integrity of the host against potentially invasive pathogenic microorganisms in the environment. Antibiotic peptides with broad antimicrobial activity are part of the innate immune system. We investigated the presence of the cathelicidin, human cationic antimicrobial protein (hCAP-18), in the male reproductive system. We found strong expression of the hCAP-18 gene by in situ hybridization and hCAP-18 protein, as detected by immunohistochemistry, in the epithelium of the epididymis, but not in the testis. The highest expression in the epididymis was in the caudal part. Western blotting showed a doublet band, the upper part corresponding to the size of hCAP-18 in plasma and neutrophils. Using a specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), levels of 86.5 +/- 37.8 microg/ml (mean +/- standard deviation; range, 41.8 to 142.8 microg/ml; n = 10) were detected in seminal plasma from healthy donors, which is 70-fold higher than the level in blood plasma. Flow cytometry and immunocytochemistry revealed the presence of hCAP-18 on spermatozoa. ELISA measurement showed levels of 196 ng/10(6) spermatozoa, corresponding to 6.6 x 10(6) molecules of hCAP-18 per spermatozoon. Our results suggest a key role for hCAP-18 in the antibacterial integrity of the male reproductive system. The attachment of hCAP-18 to spermatozoa may implicate a role for hCAP-18 in conception.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4297-4302
JournalInfection and Immunity
Volume68
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2000

Bibliographical note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Clinical Microbiology, Malmö (013011000), Urology (013243400), Clinical Chemistry, Malmö (013016000), Respiratory Medicine and Allergology (013230111), Department of Translational Medicine (013017500)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Urology and Nephrology
  • Medicinal Chemistry
  • Microbiology in the medical area

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