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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Effects of depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate on the immune microenvironment of the human cervix and endometrium: implications for HIV susceptibility.

  • Author(s): Smith-McCune, KK
  • Hilton, JF
  • Shanmugasundaram, U
  • Critchfield, JW
  • Greenblatt, RM
  • Seidman, D
  • Averbach, S
  • Giudice, LC
  • Shacklett, BL
  • et al.

Depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate is a commonly used injectable contraceptive that has been associated with an increased risk of HIV acquisition. This study compares effects of depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate on immune parameters from several upper reproductive tract compartments relevant to HIV-1 susceptibility in repetitive samples from 15 depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate users and 27 women not on hormonal contraceptives. Compared with samples from unexposed women in the mid-luteal phase, depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate use was associated with: increased endocervical concentrations of MCP1 and IFNalpha2; decreased endocervical concentrations of IL1beta and IL6; increased proportions of endometrial CD4+ and CD8+ cells expressing the activation marker HLADR; increased density of endometrial macrophages; and decreased density of endometrial regulatory T cells. Unlike previous reports with samples from the vagina, we did not observe increased expression of the HIV co-receptor CCR5 on CD4+ T cells in the endocervix or endometrium. Our results indicate important differences in anatomic compartments regarding mechanisms by which depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate could be associated with increased risk of HIV acquisition, including increased recruitment of macrophages to the endometrium, decreased levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the endocervix possibly leading to enhanced susceptibility to viral infection, and activation of endometrial T cells.

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