Background: Sertoli cell, over the past 30 years, have been elevated from simple mechanical
elements to the rank of a "sentinel" in spermatogenesis. By delivering potent immunomodulatory
and trophic proteins, Sertoli cells are unique cell type with a pivotal role in maintaining
testis immune privilege and the immune-protection of the antigenic germ cells.
Conclusions: The findings from SC transplantation studies utilizing experimental animal models of
disease, demonstrate the presence of the same immuno-modulation properties and mechanisms at
tissue and organ sites far from testis. The complex pathways that generate and maintain the immune
tolerance involve the production of several immunomodulatory or immune-related proteins such as
cytokines, chemokines, growth factors, mediators of the inflammation, complement inhibitors or
A better definition and understanding of these Sertoli cell proteins and the mechanisms of immunoprotection
should help to elucidate their role in the spermatogenic process. The demonstration of
their capabilities in transplantation experiments suggests that Sertoli cells may be good candidates
in cell therapy for a number of cell-mediated chronic diseases.