The Contribution of Cervicovaginal Infections to the Immunomodulatory Effects of Hormonal Contraception
Morrison, Charles S.
Doncel, Gustavo F.
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CitationFichorova, Raina N., Pai-Lien Chen, Charles S. Morrison, Gustavo F. Doncel, Kevin Mendonca, Cynthia Kwok, Tsungai Chipato, Robert Salata, and Christine Mauck. 2015. “The Contribution of Cervicovaginal Infections to the Immunomodulatory Effects of Hormonal Contraception.” mBio 6 (5): e00221-15. doi:10.1128/mBio.00221-15. http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/mBio.00221-15.
AbstractABSTRACT Particular types of hormonal contraceptives (HCs) and genital tract infections have been independently associated with risk of HIV-1 acquisition. We examined whether immunity in women using injectable depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA), combined oral contraceptives (COC), or no HCs differs by the presence of cervicovaginal infections. Immune mediators were quantified in cervical swabs from 832 HIV-uninfected reproductive-age Ugandans and Zimbabweans. Bacterial infections and HIV were diagnosed by PCR, genital herpes serostatus by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), altered microflora by Nugent score, and Trichomonas vaginalis and Candida albicans infection by wet mount. Generalized linear models utilizing Box-Cox-Power transformation examined associations between levels of mediators, infection status, and HCs. In no-HC users, T. vaginalis was associated with broadest spectrum of aberrant immunity (higher interleukin 1β [IL-1β], IL-8, macrophage inflammatory protein 3α [MIP-3α], β-defensin 2 [BD2], and IL-1 receptor antigen [IL-1RA]). In women with a normal Nugent score and no genital infection, compared to the no-HC group, COC users showed higher levels of IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, and IL-1RA, while DMPA users showed higher levels of RANTES and lower levels of BD2, both associated with HIV seroconversion. These effects of COC were blunted in the presence of gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, candidiasis, and an abnormal Nugent score; however, RANTES was increased among COC users with herpes, chlamydia, and abnormal Nugent scores. The effect of DMPA was exacerbated by lower levels of IL-1RA in gonorrhea, chlamydia, or herpes, SLPI in gonorrhea, and IL-1β, MIP-3α, and IL-1RA/IL1β ratio in trichomoniasis. Thus, the effects of HC on cervical immunity depend on the genital tract microenvironment, and a weakened mucosal barrier against HIV may be a combined resultant of genital tract infections and HC use.
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