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J Pathol. 2001 Sep;195(2):179-85.

Quantitative analysis of IL-10 and IFN-gamma mRNA levels in normal cervix and human papillomavirus type 16 associated cervical precancer.

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Division of Pathology, Queens Medical Centre, University Hospital, Nottingham, UK.


Human papillomavirus type 16 is a major factor in cervical carcinogenesis. Inappropriate cytokine synthesis may direct the local immune response away from a type-1 (cellular) pattern and may subsequently contribute to the development and progression of precancer. Quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) using a competitive mimic was carried out to determine type-1 (interferon gamma (IFN-gamma)) and type-2 (interleukin-10 (IL-10)) cytokine mRNA levels in whole cervical specimens (without microdissection) from seven normal and nine HPV-16 positive CIN formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues. Microdissection was used to measure separately the epithelial and sub-epithelial levels of IFN-gamma and IL-10 mRNAs in 11 specimens of normal cervix and 25 HPV-16 positive CIN (nine CIN 1, seven CIN 2 and nine CIN 3). IFN-gamma mRNA was lower in CIN than normal (p=0.04). IL-10 mRNA level in CIN was significantly higher (p=0.005) than in normal cervix (before microdissection). Epithelial IFN-gamma mRNA showed a significant decrease in all grades of CIN (median=3.58) compared with normal (7.74) (p<0.05), but there was no significant difference between the grades. A significant decrease in sub-epithelial IFN-gamma mRNA was found in CIN 1(9.81), CIN 2 (3.82) and CIN 3 (4.62) compared with normal cervix (27.35) (p<0.05). Also, sub-epithelial IFN-gamma mRNA was significantly lower in CIN 2 and CIN 3 than in CIN 1 (p=0.005 and 0.0005, respectively). IL-10 was detected in the epithelium of only one of 11 normal and one of 25 CIN, but sub-epithelial IL-10 was significantly higher in CIN 2 (0.08) and CIN 3 (0.26) than in normal (0.00) (p=0.036 and 0.0032, respectively). There was no significant difference in the sub-epithelial level of IL-10 between normal and CIN 1 (0.00) (p=0.96). Our results suggest that reduced epithelial and sub-epithelial IFN-gamma, as well as increased sub-epithelial IL-10 synthesis may play a role in the development and progression of HPV-16 associated cervical precancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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