Systemic cell-mediated immune reactivity in women with recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis

J Infect Dis. 1993 Dec;168(6):1458-65. doi: 10.1093/infdis/168.6.1458.


It has been suggested that impaired cell-mediated immunity (CMI) against Candida antigens is responsible for susceptibility to recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis (RVVC) in adult women. To address this, we conducted a comprehensive longitudinal study examining in vivo and in vitro systemic CMI reactivity in RVVC patients. Results showed that RVVC patients frequently demonstrated a transient loss of Candida-specific delayed cutaneous skin test reactivity during episodes of symptomatic vaginitis. In contrast, in vitro peripheral blood lymphoproliferation and Th1-type lymphokine production by RVVC patients in response to a T cell mitogen and multiple Candida and bacterial antigens were similar to controls both during acute episodes of vaginitis and during periods of infection-free remission. These results suggest that women with RVVC have no detectable impairment of systemic CMI in peripheral blood and that transient reductions in skin test reactivity appear to be a result of vaginal Candida infection and not a predisposing factor to RVVC.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • CD4-CD8 Ratio
  • Candidiasis / immunology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Lymphokines / biosynthesis
  • Middle Aged
  • Skin Tests
  • Vulvovaginitis / immunology*
  • Vulvovaginitis / microbiology


  • Lymphokines