Uterovaginal sperm storage glands taken from fertile and infertile turkey breeder hens were analyzed morphologically using transmission electron microscopy. Sperm storage glands from the infertile hens were generally devoid of spermatozoa, while glands from the fertile hens contained many such cells. Extensive lymphocytic infiltration into the basolateral clefts between contiguous cells of the sperm glands was found in both fertile and infertile hens. Plasma cell infiltration into these intracellular clefts was also found in infertile turkeys. Plasma cells were not found, however, in the glandular clefts of fertile hens. Lymphocytes present in the sperm storage glands of fertile hens are theorized to be regulatory suppressor T-cells, which could explain the hen's immunological tolerance to continual exposure to antigenic spermatozoa. Conversely, the presence of antibody-producing plasma cells in the sperm storage glands of infertile hens could explain the absence of stored spermatozoa and the reduced fecundity of these hens.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Small Animals
- Food Animals
- Animal Science and Zoology