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J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2016 Feb 1;71(2):137-45. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000000850.

Effect of Depot Medoxyprogesterone Acetate on Immune Functions and Inflammatory Markers of HIV-Infected Women.

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*Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Center, Aurora, CO; †Department of Biostatistics, Statistical and Data Analysis Center, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA; ‡Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology/Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC; §Department of Clinical Pharmacology, University of California, San Francisco, CA; ‖Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator and Health Diplomacy, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC; ¶Department of Infectious Diseases, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY; and #Department of Infectious Diseases, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL.



Depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) was associated with increased HIV transmission and accelerated disease progression in untreated women. The potential underlying mechanisms include immune modulation. We evaluated the effect of a single DMPA injection on cell-mediated immunity (CMI), T-cell activation, T-cell regulation (Treg), and inflammation in HIV-infected women on combination antiretroviral regimen (cART).


Women with HIV plasma RNA ≤ 400 copies per milliliter on stable cART received DMPA and had immunologic and medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) measurements at baseline, 4 weeks [peak MPA concentration (Cmax)], and 12 weeks [highest MPA area under the concentration curve].


At baseline, among 24 women with median age of 32 years and 622 CD4(+) cells per microliter, ≥ 68% had HIV, varicella-zoster virus, phytohemagglutinin A and CD3/CD28 CMI measured by lymphocyte proliferation, and/or IFNγ/IL2 dual-color fluorospot. CMI did not significantly change after DMPA administration except for a 1.4-fold increase in IL2/IFNγ varicella-zoster virus fluorospot at week 12. T-cell activation decreased after DMPA administration, reaching statistical significance at week 12 for CD4(+)CD25+%. Treg behaved heterogeneously with an increase in CD8+FOXP3+% at week 4 and a decrease in CD4+IL35+% at week 12. There was a decrease in TGFβ at week 12 and no other changes in plasma biomarkers. Correlation analyses showed that high MPA Cmax and/or area under the concentration curve were significantly associated with increases of IFNγ HIV enzyme-linked ImmunoSpot, CD4+IL35+%, and CD4+TGFβ+% Treg and decreases of plasma IL10 from baseline to weeks 4 and/or 12.


A single dose of DMPA did not have immune-suppressive or pro-inflammatory effects in HIV-infected women on cART. Additional studies need to assess the effect of multiple doses.

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