The role of mucosal immunity in human papillomavirus (HPV)-related cervical diseases is poorly understood. To characterize the local immune microenvironment in cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) 2/3 and determine the effects of HIV infection, we compared samples from three groups: normal cervix, CIN 2/3 from immunocompetent women (HIV- CIN 2/3), and CIN 2/3 from HIV seropositive women (HIV+ CIN 2/3). CIN 2/3 lesions contained increased numbers of immune cells from both the acquired and innate arms of the immune response in stroma [CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, macrophages, mast cells, B cells, neutrophils, and natural killer (NK) cells] and dysplastic epithelium (CD4+ T cells, macrophages, and NK cells). Immune cells in CIN 2/3 expressed activation markers, as measured by interleukin-2 receptor (IL-2R) and transcription factor T bet. Interferon-α production was significantly up-regulated in CIN lesions and was expressed by CD4+ and CD8+ T cells and NK cells, indicating the activation of immune cells. Abundant presence of transforming growth factor-β+ CD25+ cells in the infiltrates associated with CIN lesions, and of immature CD1a+ dendritic cells expressing IL-10 and transforming growth factor-β, indicate that CIN is associated with an influx of immune cells that produce a mixture of proinflammatory and regulatory cytokines. In HIV+ CIN, immune cell densities (CD4+ T cells, macrophages, neutrophils, and NK cells) and expression of interferon-γ were significantly decreased compared with HIV- CIN. Regulatory cytokines were also down-regulated in this group. Therefore, both pro- and anti-inflammatory responses present in CIN 2/3 lesions are suppressed in HTV-seropositive women.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research