Antiviral immune responses in the genital tract: clues for vaccines

Nat Rev Immunol. 2010 Oct;10(10):699-711. doi: 10.1038/nri2836. Epub 2010 Sep 10.


Mucosal surfaces are exploited as a portal of entry into hosts by a wide variety of microorganisms. Over the past decade, an advanced understanding of the immune system of the gastrointestinal and the respiratory mucosae has been gained. However, despite the fact that many viruses are transmitted sexually through the genital tract, the immune system of the male and female genital mucosae has received much less attention. Here, I describe and highlight differences in the innate and adaptive immune systems of the genital and intestinal mucosae, and discuss some of the challenges we face in the development of successful vaccines against sexually transmitted viral pathogens.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Genitalia / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Mucosal / immunology*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / immunology
  • Male
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Viral / immunology*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Viral / prevention & control
  • Viral Vaccines / immunology*


  • Viral Vaccines