Effects of hysteroscopic and uterine body insemination on the presence of selected immune cells in the equine endometrium
The effects of standard uterine body and hysteroscopic insemination on endometrial health were investigated. For this purpose, 33 mares were assigned to five different protocols: control (no insemination; n = 7), sham AI (sham uterine body insemination; n = 6), sham HysAI (sham hysteroscopic insemination; n = 7), standard AI (standard uterine body insemination, 300 × 106 progressively motile sperms (PMS); n = 7) and HysAI (hysteroscopic insemination, 100 × 106 PMS; n = 6). Sampling included uterine swabbing for microbiological examination, cytology for determination of polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) in the uterus, and endometrial biopsy collection for histology and characterization of endometrial immune cells on day 18 after ovulation (B1) as well as 8-10 hours (B2, day 20) and 72 hours after insemination (B3, day 23). Microbial contamination increased throughout the experiment in the sham insemination groups. Significant effects (P < .05) over time were detected for PMNs (cytology: sham HysAI, standard AI, and HysAI; histology: standard AI and HysAI), macrophages (immunohistochemistry: standard AI and HysAI) and T cells (immunohistochemistry: standard AI), showing an increase at B2 and a subsequent decrease toward baseline levels at B3. At B2, significant differences (P < .05) existed for PMNs (mean ± SEM) between control (1.3 ± 1.9%) and sham AI (2.2 ± 2.7%) versus standard AI (12.2 ± 4.7%) and for macrophages between control (4.1 ± 3.5%) and sham AI (2.5 ± 1.3%) versus standard AI (25.4 ± 15.8%). Thus, the cellular immune response of the endometrium depends on sperm deposition in the uterus and does not differ between hysteroscopic and standard uterine body insemination.