Objective: We compared cervico-vaginal cytokines in hormone therapy (HT)-treated postmenopausal women with premenopausal women and explored the association of serum estradiol (E2) and progesterone (P4) with cervico-vaginal cytokines.Methods: Postmenopausal women were treated with oral E2 1 mg/day for 28 days, with oral P4 100 mg/day added for the last 14 days. Premenopausal women were evaluated over one menstrual cycle. Serum E2 and P4 levels and cervico-vaginal cytokines interleukin (IL)-8 and IL-1β were measured at baseline, 14 days, and 28 days and were estimated by specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays.Results: Among nine postmenopausal and seven premenopausal women, cervico-vaginal IL-8 levels were highest at baseline, decreased on day 14, and remained stable thereafter. Cervico-vaginal IL-1β levels were highest at baseline, decreased on day 14, and remained stable with HT in postmenopausal women while they increased in premenopausal women. Postmenopausal women treated with HT and premenopausal women had similar changes in IL-8 and IL-1β. Serum E2 levels negatively correlated with IL-8 and IL-1β levels. Increased serum E2 from HT was correlated with the decreased IL-8 level from baseline to day 14 (p = 0.03).Conclusion: Exogenous E2 and P4 decreased the cervico-vaginal IL-1β and IL-8 to those levels found in premenopausal women. These findings require confirmation in a larger prospective study.
Keywords: Cervico-vaginal cytokines; estradiol; interleukin-1β; interleukin-8; progesterone.