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Reproductive immunology in viviparous mammals: evolutionary paradox of interactions among immune mechanisms and autologous or allogeneic gametes and semiallogeneic foetuses.

  • Samardžija, M1
  • Lojkić, M1
  • Maćešić, N1
  • Valpotić, H2
  • Butković, I1
  • Šavorić, J1
  • Žura Žaja, I3
  • Leiner, D4
  • Đuričić, D5
  • Marković, F6
  • Kočila, P7
  • Vidas, Z8
  • Gerenčer, M9
  • Kaštelan, A10
  • Milovanović, A11
  • Lazarević, M12
  • Rukavina, D10
  • Valpotić, I13
  • 1 Clinic for Obstetrics and Reproduction of Animals, Veterinary Faculty University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia. , (Croatia)
  • 2 Department for Animal Nutrition and Dietetics, Veterinary Faculty University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia. , (Croatia)
  • 3 Department for Physiology and Radiobiology, Veterinary Faculty University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia. , (Croatia)
  • 4 Department of Anatomy, Histology and Embriology, Veterinary Faculty University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia. , (Croatia)
  • 5 Veterinary Practice, Đurđevac, Croatia. , (Croatia)
  • 6 Belupo d.d. Danica, Koprivnica, Croatia. , (Croatia)
  • 7 Animal Feed Factory, Čakovec, Croatia. , (Croatia)
  • 8 Faculty of Medicine, Department of Urology, Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek, Osijek, Croatia. , (Croatia)
  • 9 Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Zagreb, Croatia. , (Croatia)
  • 10 Department of Reproduction, Veterinary Scientific Institute, Novi Sad, Serbia. , (Serbia)
  • 11 Department for Physiology and Biochemistry, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia. , (Serbia)
  • 12 Department of Cellular Immunology, Baxter Hyland Immuno, Vienna, Austria. , (Austria)
  • 13 Department of Biology, Veterinary Faculty University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia. , (Croatia)
Published Article
The veterinary quarterly
Publication Date
Dec 01, 2020
DOI: 10.1080/01652176.2020.1852336
PMID: 33198593


Literally, reproductive immunology was born in bovine on-farm reproduction where seminal experiments intended for developing methods for embryo transfer in cattle were performed. Actually, these experiments led to two of major concepts and fundamental principles of reproductive immunology using the bovine species as a model for biomedical research, namely the concept of acquired immunological tolerance and the paradox of the semiallogeneic bovine foetus whereby such organism can develop within an immunologically competent host. Peter Medawar, a scientist who together with Frank Macfarlande Burnet shared the 1960 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for discovery of acquired immunological tolerance, while studying dizygotic cattle twins, thereby giving birth to reproductive immunology. Also, these findings significantly influenced development of organ transplants and showed that using farm animals as models for studying transplantation immunology had general relevance for mammalian biology and health including those of humans. However, the interest for further research of the fascinating maternal immune influences on pregnancy and perinatal outcomes and of the prevention and treatment of immunologically mediated reproductive disorders in viviparous mammals of veterinary relevance by veterinary immunologists and reproductive clinicians have been very scarce regarding the application of nonspecific immunomodulatory agents for prevention and treatment of subfertility and infertility in pigs and cattle, but still broadening knowledge in this area and hold great potential for improving such therapy in the future. The aim of the current overview is to provide up-to-date information and explaining/translating relevant immunology phenomena into veterinary practice for specialists and scientists/clinicians in reproduction of animals.

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