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J Infect Dis. 1998 Sep;178(3):815-9.

Cysteine proteases of Trichomonas vaginalis degrade secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor.

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Magee-Women's Research Institute and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.


Sexually transmitted diseases, including trichomoniasis, are risk factors for acquisition of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Enhancement mechanisms are unknown. Secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor (SLPI) from saliva appears to prevent transmission of HIV through inhibition of virus entry into monocytic cells in vitro. This study was undertaken to determine if secreted cysteine proteases of Trichomonas vaginalis degrade SLPI and render it nonfunctional. It was determined if SLPI levels were decreased in vaginal fluids from pregnant women infected with T. vaginalis. Isolated proteases were incubated with recombinant human SLPI, and the degradation was followed by Western analysis with SLPI antiserum. SLPI levels were measured by ELISA in vaginal fluids from women infected with T. vaginalis and uninfected controls. Cysteine proteases cleaved SLPI and rendered it nonfunctional. Median levels of SLPI from infected patients were 26% of those of controls (P <.005). The degradation of SLPI in association with trichomonal infection may increase the risk of HIV acquisition.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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