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J Infect Dis. 2000 Aug;182(2):467-73. Epub 2000 Jul 18.

High levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-1beta in bacterial vaginosis may increase susceptibility to human immunodeficiency virus.

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Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard AIDS Institute, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Bacterial vaginosis (BV) was identified recently as a cofactor that promotes sexual transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This study was done to determine if interleukin (IL)-1beta and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha could be measured consistently in cervical secretions and if high levels of these cytokines were associated with BV. Secretions were obtained from 209 study subjects; most samples had detectable levels of TNF-alpha (84.2%) and IL-1beta (79.8%). BV was detected in 53 (27.0%) of 196 women. High cytokine levels were significantly associated with BV (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 4.17; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.69-10.30), oral contraceptive use (AOR, 2.78; 95% CI, 1.04-7.48), and high leukocyte counts on vaginal smear (AOR, 1.18; 95% CI, 1.03-1.36). Since these cytokines could up-regulate local HIV replication through activation of the long terminal repeat promoter region, the association of BV with high levels of IL-1beta or TNF-alpha may partly explain the mechanism by which this risk factor enhances HIV transmission.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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