Local Th1/Th2 cytokine production during experimental vaginal candidiasis: potential importance of transforming growth factor-beta

Med Mycol. 2000 Dec;38(6):419-31. doi: 10.1080/mmy.38.6.419.431.


Host defense mechanisms against vaginal Candida albicans infections are poorly understood. Despite the protective role of T helper (Th)1-type cell-mediated immunity (CMI) against mucosal C. albicans infections, studies using an estrogen-dependent murine model of vaginal candidiasis have shown a lack of effect of systemic Th1-type CMI against a vaginal C. albicans infection, and a lack of changes in local T cells during infection. In the present study, the local Thl- (interleukin [IL]-2, interferon [IFN]-gamma and IL-12) and Th2- (IL-4, IL-10 and transforming growth factor [TGF]-beta1) type cytokines were evaluated in vaginal tissue during an experimental C. albicans infection. Results showed constitutive expression of TGF-beta1 in vaginal tissue of naive mice that was two-fold higher than the levels of the other cytokines examined. These high levels of TGF-beta1 were further increased as a result of pseudoestrus and/or infection, and were corroborated at the messenger RNA level. Furthermore, the levels of TGF-beta in naive or infected mice were significantly higher in the vagina compared to other areas of the genital tract. Finally, TGF-beta1 predominated as well in the draining, but not non-draining, lymph nodes during infection. These results suggest that TGF-beta1, a potent immunoregulatory cytokine, may be important in the lack of demonstrable CMI at the vaginal mucosa against C. albicans.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Candida albicans*
  • Candidiasis / immunology*
  • Cytokines / analysis*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fallopian Tubes / immunology
  • Female
  • Interferon-gamma / analysis
  • Interleukin-10 / analysis
  • Interleukin-12 / analysis
  • Interleukin-2 / analysis
  • Interleukin-4 / analysis
  • Lymph Nodes / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred CBA
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Therapeutic Irrigation
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / analysis*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / genetics
  • Uterus / immunology
  • Vagina / immunology*
  • Vagina / microbiology
  • Vaginitis / immunology*
  • Vaginitis / microbiology


  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-2
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Interleukin-10
  • Interleukin-12
  • Interleukin-4
  • Interferon-gamma