Distribution of immune cell subsets and cytokine-producing cells in the uterine cervix of human papillomavirus (HPV)-infected women: influence of HIV-1 coinfection

Diagn Mol Pathol. 2005 Mar;14(1):39-47. doi: 10.1097/01.pas.0000143309.81183.6c.


The aim of this study was to characterize the immune system profile in the uterine cervix of 17 human papillomavirus (HPV)-infected women, compared with 17 whom were coinfected with HIV-1. Five histologically normal cervices in immunocompetent women were used as controls. HPV infection was associated with a marked increase in cells expressing interleukin (IL)-6, interferon gamma (IFN-gamma), and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha). Coinfection by HPV and HIV-1 led to decreased expression of IL-6, TNF-alpha, and IFN-gamma. However, coinfection led to increased numbers of cells expressing IL-4, IL-10, and IL-8. Compared with the histologically normal cervices, increased numbers of macrophages (CD68, RFD7) and T lymphocytes (CD4, CD8) were seen in HPV-infected cervices; coinfection with HIV-1 was associated with a higher number of CD8 cells and lower number of CD68 cells. HPV DNA localized exclusively to the dysplastic squamous cells, whereas HIV-1 RNA was detected mainly in CD68-positive stromal cells. In conclusion, this study shows differential expression of various cytokines and classes of inflammatory cells, relative to HIV-1 infection and HPV coinfection, which may relate to the risk of transmission of HIV-1 and increased risk of cervical cancer in these women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cervix Uteri / immunology*
  • Cervix Uteri / pathology
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • HIV Infections / immunology*
  • HIV-1
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Papillomaviridae*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / complications*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / immunology*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / pathology
  • Uterine Cervical Diseases / complications*
  • Uterine Cervical Diseases / immunology*
  • Uterine Cervical Diseases / pathology


  • Cytokines