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

AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2008 May;24(5):667-71. doi: 10.1089/aid.2007.0268.


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)-1beta, 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 beta (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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / immunology
  • HIV Infections / metabolism
  • HIV Seronegativity / immunology*
  • HIV-1
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-1beta / analysis
  • Interleukin-1beta / biosynthesis*
  • Interleukin-6 / analysis
  • Interleukin-6 / biosynthesis*
  • Interleukin-8 / analysis
  • Interleukin-8 / biosynthesis*
  • Middle Aged
  • Regression Analysis
  • Secretory Leukocyte Peptidase Inhibitor / metabolism
  • Vagina
  • Vaginal Discharge / immunology
  • Vaginal Douching
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial / immunology*
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial / metabolism


  • Interleukin-1beta
  • Interleukin-6
  • Interleukin-8
  • Secretory Leukocyte Peptidase Inhibitor