Differential susceptibility of HIV strains to innate immune factors in human cervical-vaginal secretions
Mimi Ghosh, John V Fahey, Charles R Wira
Department of Physiology and Neurobiology, Dartmouth Medical School, Lebanon, New Hampshire, USA
Abstract: The female reproductive tract (FRT) is protected by innate and adaptive immune mechanisms, which work in concert to defend against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Under the control of sex hormones throughout a woman’s life, the immune system in the FRT has evolved to meet the challenges of protection against STIs, coupled with the need to sustain the development of new life. The studies presented in this review focus on the threat of HIV infection and the levels of protection present in the FRT during the menstrual cycle. Studies from our laboratory and others, examined the presence and variability of immune components against viral infection in the FRT. Our findings indicate that there are some factors in the FRT secretions that inhibit and enhance infectivity of individual strains of HIV. Given the complexities of hormonal regulation, identification of the elements involved in susceptibility to and protection against HIV in women must involve a careful analysis of transmitted viruses and a clear understanding of immune protection in the FRT.
Keywords: HIV susceptibility, CVL