Immunoprivileged Sites: The Testis

  • Monika Fijak
  • Sudhanshu Bhushan
  • Andreas MeinhardtEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 677)


The testis is an immunological privileged tissue as evidenced by its ability to support grafts with minimal rejection. Immune privilege is essential for the tolerance of neo-antigens from developing germ cells that appear after the constitution of self-tolerance, but imposes the paradoxical task of also providing efficient protection against pathogens and tumor cells. It is becoming increasingly clear that immune privilege cannot be attributed to a single factor such as the sequestration of neo-antigens from the immune system behind the blood–testis barrier, but is based on a complex multifaceted interplay between cells and factors that are essential for the reproductive function of the testis and the testicular immune system. This review summarizes the evidence that has accumulated regarding the role of Sertoli cells, androgens, and selected population of leukocytes in the maintenance of immune privilege and its perturbation in testicular inflammatory sub- and infertility.

Key words

Sertoli cells Testosterone Regulatory T lymphocytes Dendritic cells Cytokines 



The grant support of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG Clinical Research Unit KFO 181, Me 1323/4-4) is gratefully acknowledged. The authors are grateful to Dr. Con Mallidis (Münster, Germany) for linguistic help.


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Copyright information

© Humana Press 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Monika Fijak
    • 1
  • Sudhanshu Bhushan
    • 1
  • Andreas Meinhardt
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Anatomy and Cell BiologyJustus-Liebig-University of GiessenGiessenGermany

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