Immunomodulatory function of seminal catecholamines may be an adaptation for reproduction

Kimberly A. Bazar, A. Joon Yun, Patrick Y. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Catecholamines are found at high concentrations in seminal fluid. The exact functional significance of seminal catecholamines is unknown. We hypothesize that seminal catecholamines perform important immunomodulatory functions that support reproductive success. Specifically, we propose that catecholamines contribute to a local adaptive shift of T helper (Th) balance to Th2 dominance in the maternal reproductive tract to enable the gametes, and possibly the nascent zygote, to evade immune surveillance of the female. Our hypothesis suggests that the Th2 effects of catecholamines are independent of the direct immunomodulatory effects of seminal cytokines such as prostaglandin E2 and transforming growth factor β1. Potential immunomodulatory functions of other seminal constituents such as aldosterone, oxytocin, vasopressin, and angiotensin remain unexplored and represents a topic of future interest. Seminal stress hormones may play a role in mating dynamics since alpha males typically live in a state of high hormonal stress, Mating with adrenalized alpha males may represent an adaptive Darwinian strategy by females to maximize their reproductive fitness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168-171
Number of pages4
JournalMedical Hypotheses
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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