Objective: The objective of our study was to analyze immunocyte infiltrates in CIN lesions from HIV+ patients to assess whether local immunosuppression, defined as a decrease in T cell infiltrates, could explain the aggressive nature of CIN in HIV-infected patients.
Materials and methods: Cervical tissue was obtained from 6 HIV+ CIN patients, 6 HIV- CIN patients, who underwent LLETZ (large loop excision of the transformation zone) for CIN, and 17 normal patients who underwent hysterectomy for benign indications. The following cell surface markers were analyzed: CD20 (B cells), CD4 (T helper cells), and CD8 (T suppressor/cytotoxic cells). Each tissue section was visualized with a Leica microscope at 400x and the image was captured for analysis by Harmony Group image analysis software.
Results: A significantly higher number of lymphocytes (both B and T cells) was detected in the stroma of HIV+/CIN tissue compared to either HIV-/CIN or normal tissue. There was also a significant increase in CD8+ cells in the HIV+/CIN group compared to HIV-/CIN or normal tissue. There was a trend toward a decreased CD4+/CD8+ ratio in the HIV+/CIN compared to the other two groups; however, this did not reach statistical significance.
Conclusions: This study indicates that HIV+/CIN cervical tissue has a greater number of tissue lymphocytes recruited to the neoplastic site compared to HIV- individuals. In addition, HIV+ patients may have a decreased CD4/CD8 ratio in locally infiltrating immunocytes in CIN lesions. The local immunomodulatory effects of HIV may be detectable early in infection and therefore may explain the aggressive nature of CIN in the HIV+ patient.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.