- HIV infection adversely affects the synthesis of Th1 cytokines by CD4+ T cells of women with active human papillomavirus infection, researchers say.
To investigate whether coinfection with HIV affects the synthesis of Th1 and Th2 cytokines by peripheral blood T cells of women infected with human papillomavirus (HPV), B.N. Lee and colleagues obtained cervical swabs and peripheral blood from women referred for colposcopy ("Synthesis of IFN-gamma by CD8+ T cells is preserved in HIV-infected women with HPV-related cervical squamous intraepithelial lesions," Gynecol Oncol 1999 Dec;75(3):379-86.
The researchers assessed HPV DNA by Digene's hybrid capture assay, HIV RNA by Roche's Amplicor assay, and cytokine synthesis of T-cell subsets by flow cytometry. They staged HPV-associated cervical diseases using the Bethesda System and HIV associated immune deficiency diseases using US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria.
"Patients with HIV and/or HPV infections had lower percentages of IL-2+ and higher percentages of IL-10+ T cells than healthy women," the researchers reported. They found significantly fewer IL-2+ CD4+, IFN-gamma+ CD4+, and TNF-alpha+ CD4+ T cells in women with both virus infections (HIV+/HPV+) than in women with HPV infection alone (HPV+).
HPV+ women had significantly fewer IFN-gamma+ CD8+ T cells than either HIV+ women or healthy women.
The researchers concluded that HIV infection adversely affects the synthesis of Th1 cytokines by CD4+, but not IFN-gamma synthesis by CD8+ T cells of women with active HPV infection.
The stable HIV disease of the women studied may be due to the increase in IFN gamma+ CD8+ T cells, a phenotype consistent with cytotoxic T lymphocytes.
"However, the increase in IFN-gamma+ CD8+ T cells is less likely to be HPV-specific as there was a higher incidence of HPV-related cervical SIL in HIV+/HPV+ women compared with HPV+ women," Lee et al. concluded.
The corresponding author for this study is J.M. Reuben, University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Pathology Division, 1515 Holcombe Blvd, Box 7, Houston, TX 77030 USA.
This article was prepared by AIDS Weekly editors from staff and other reports.