Interindividual variations in host immune responses to HPV infection are thought to be important determinants of viral persistence and progression to cervical intraepithelial neoplasia and cancer, However, few studies have measured local immune markers at the site of infection (e.g., the cervical mucosa). We sought to determine biologic correlates of IL-10 and IL-12 concentrations in cervical secretions. Cervical secretions were passively collected using a WeckCel sponge from 247 women participating in a natural history study of human papillomavirus infection as part of an immunologic ancillary study. IL-10 and IL-12 concentrations were determined using standard ELISA assays. In general, IL-10 and IL-12 levels were significantly intercorrelated (Pearson's correlation coefficient = 0.6) but had somewhat different determinants. Significant increases (P < 0.05) in IL-10 concentrations were observed for nonovulatory phases of the menstrual cycle, postmenopausal status, recent use of oral contraceptives (OC), low secretion volume, macrolevels of heme contamination, and high vaginal pH. Increasing IL- 10 levels were also observed among smokers, women with increasing numbers of lifetime sex partners, and women who report having less frequent sex (less than once per week), however, these resuits were not statistically significant. Significantly higher IL-12 concentrations were observed among recent OC users, women with low secretion volume, and women with a high vaginal pH. There was a non-statistically significant observation of increasing IL-12 levels among nonsmokers, women with increasing numbers of lifetime and recent pregnancies, and increasing levels of heme contamination. We failed to observe a significant association between HPV and IL- 10 or IL- 12 levels in this cross-sectional sample. Future analyses of cervical cytokine levels and HPV infection should control for the inherent variation of local cytokine levels due to hormonal influences, hemoglobin contamination, pH, and cervical secretion volume differences.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy