Bacterial vaginosis, not HIV, is primarily responsible for increased vaginal concentrations of proinflammatory cytokines

Caroline M. Mitchell, Jennifer Balkus, Kathy J. Agnew, Susan Cohn, Amneris Luque, Richard Lawler, Robert W. Coombs, Jane E. Hitti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


The relative effect of HIV-1 infection compared with vaginal infections on vaginal cytokine concentrations is not well characterized. We compared vaginal fluid samples from HIV-1-infected women with those from HIV-negative women, to assess the effect of HIV-1 infection on concentrations of vaginal proinflammatory cytokines and the mucosal defense molecule secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor (SLPI). Twenty-seven HIV-1-infected women and 54 HIV-negative controls, matched for bacterial vaginosis (BV) status, had proinflammatory cytokine [interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-8] and SLPI concentrations measured from archived cervicovaginal lavage and vaginal swab samples using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Log-transformed concentrations were compared by BV and HIV status in univariate analysis using Student's t-test, and in multivariate analysis using a linear regression model. In univariate analysis there were no significant differences in cytokine concentrations among HIV-1-infected and HIV-negative women. In a multivariable linear regression model, BV was significantly associated with an increase in IL-1 β (p = 0.003). HIV infection was associated with an increased concentration of SLPI (p = 0.008), while BV status was significantly associated with a decrease in SLPI concentrations (p = 0.005). Neither HIV nor BV was associated with changes in IL-6 or IL-8. HIV does not have a major impact on vaginal concentrations of proinflammatory cytokines when controlling for the presence of bacterial vaginosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)667-671
Number of pages5
JournalAIDS research and human retroviruses
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology
  • Immunology


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