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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2007 Apr;196(4):346.e1-8.

Enhanced synthesis of proinflammatory cytokines by vulvar vestibular fibroblasts: implications for vulvar vestibulitis.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY, USA.



The objective of the study was to determine whether vestibular fibroblasts from vulvar vestibulitis (VVS) patients produce higher proinflammatory cytokine levels when provoked with Candida albicans (yeast) and alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH) in vitro.


Twenty anatomically defined fibroblast strains from patients and age-matched controls were stimulated with 5 regimens: no stimulus, alpha-MSH, heat-killed yeast, alpha-MSH plus yeast, and interleukin (IL)-1beta. Supernatant products included the following: granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor, interferon-gamma, IL-10, IL-12, IL-1beta, IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha were assayed.


Coincubation with alpha-MSH plus yeast significantly increased IL-6 (3-fold) and IL-8 (greater than 40-fold) production in patients and controls. Vestibular fibroblast exceeded external vulvar fibroblast production of IL-1beta, IL-6, and IL-8 following yeast alone and alpha-MSH plus yeast stimuli in patients and controls. Substratified by anatomic origin, vestibular fibroblasts from VVS patients produced the highest relative levels of IL-1beta, IL-6, and IL-8 at baseline and following the yeast-alone regimen.


Localized pain of VVS may results from regionally elevated cytokines produced by vulvar vestibule-specific fibroblasts.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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