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J Infect Dis. 2001 Dec 1;184(11):1489-93.

Growth inhibition of Candida albicans by human vaginal epithelial cells.

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Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Parasitology, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA.


Vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) is a common mucosal infection caused by Candida species in women of childbearing age. Although acute VVC affects a large number of women and is often precipitated by hormonal fluctuations involving high estrogen levels, recurrent VVC (RVVC) affects another 5%-10% of women without any known predisposing factors. We have recently reported that vaginal epithelial cells from nonhuman primates and mice inhibit the growth of Candida albicans in vitro, which may represent an innate host defense mechanism against C. albicans at the vaginal mucosa. In the present study, we show that vaginal epithelial cells collected from healthy women with no history of VVC also exhibit anti-Candida activity, with no differences in activity at various stages of the menstrual cycle. Women diagnosed with RVVC, on the other hand, have reduced epithelial cell anti-Candida activity. These results are further evidence that vaginal epithelial cells provide an innate host resistance mechanism against Candida and that reduced activity may contribute to RVVC.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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