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Clin Immunol. 2004 Apr;111(1):103-7.

Trichomonas vaginalis infection activates cells through toll-like receptor 4.

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Department of Immunology/Microbiology, Rush University, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.


While Trichomonas vaginalis infection can cause inflammation and influx of leukocytes into the female genital tract, the molecular pathways important in inducing these effects are not known. This study determined if infection with T. vaginalis activates cells through toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4). Genital tract secretions from infected women stimulated TNF-alpha production by cells with functional TLR4 (350 pg/ml) but significantly less by cells that are unresponsive to TLR4 ligands (44 pg/ml, P = 0.001). Secretions collected after clearance of infection also induced significantly lower responses by cells with functional TLR4 (136 pg/ml, P = 0.008). TNF-alpha responses were not reduced by Polymyxin B and did not correlate with beta(2)-defensin levels, indicating that stimulation of cells was not through lipopolysaccharide or beta(2)-defensin. These studies show that T. vaginalis infection results in the appearance in the genital tract of substance(s) that stimulate cells through TLR4, suggesting a mechanism for the inflammation caused by this infection.

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