Cervical Concentrations of interleukin-10 and interleukin-12 Do Not Correlate With Plasma Levels

J Clin Immunol. 2002 Jan;22(1):23-7. doi: 10.1023/a:1014252402630.


Human papillomavirus (HPV) infects the transformation zone of the cervix and is the primary cause of cervical cancer. The infection is localized to the cervix and mucosal immunity is likely to be an important determinant for viral clearance. Previous studies of immunity to HPV have measured immune markers in the blood, but the relationship of systemic immunity to cervical immunity is poorly understood. In this study of 70 women enrolled in the ASCUS-LSIL Triage Study (ALTS), a clinical trial for management of low-grade cytologic abnormalities of the cervix, we collected paired plasma and cervical secretions to investigate the relationship between cervical concentrations of interleukin-10 (IL-10) and interleukin-12 (IL-12) and plasma levels. Neither IL-10 (p = 0.11), or IL-12 (p = -0.04) nor the ratio of IL-12 to IL-10 (p = 0.06) were correlated between blood and cervical secretions. Except for weak correlations of IL-10 among nonsmokers (p = 0.35. P = 0.019) and those in day 18-27 of their menstrual cycle (p = 0.51, P = 0.015), this lack of correlation persisted in all subgroups defined by genital inflammation or infection, current oral contraceptive use, heme contamination and volume of collected secretions, HPV16 seropositivity, and repeat HPV infection and/or cytologic abnormalities. The lack of correlation and high concentrations in cervical secretions indicate that the cervical IL-10 and IL-12 concentrations exceed what could be expected from blood as a principle source of IL-10 and IL-12 and suggest that cytokine concentrations in cervical secretions are predominantly the result of local cytokine production.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cervix Uteri / immunology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-10 / blood*
  • Interleukin-10 / metabolism*
  • Interleukin-12 / blood*
  • Interleukin-12 / metabolism*
  • Papillomaviridae
  • Papillomavirus Infections / immunology
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Th2 Cells / immunology
  • Tumor Virus Infections / immunology
  • Uterine Cervicitis / immunology


  • Interleukin-10
  • Interleukin-12