Phenotype and Functionality of CD4+ and CD8+ T Cells in the Upper Reproductive Tract of Healthy Premenopausal Women

Authors

  • Uma Shanmugasundaram,

    1. Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA, USA
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  • J. William Critchfield,

    1. Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA, USA
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  • Jane Pannell,

    1. Department of Clinical Pharmacy, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA
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  • Jean Perry,

    1. Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA
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  • Linda C. Giudice,

    1. Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA
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  • Karen Smith-McCune,

    1. Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA
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  • Ruth M. Greenblatt,

    1. Department of Clinical Pharmacy, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA
    2. Department of Internal Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA
    3. Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA
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  • Barbara L. Shacklett

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA, USA
    2. Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA, USA
    • Correspondence

      Barbara L. Shacklett, Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of California, Davis, 1 Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA.

      E-mail: blshacklett@ucdavis.edu

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Abstract

Problem

The goal of this study was to investigate the phenotype and functional responsiveness of CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells in the upper reproductive tract of healthy premenopausal women. The lower reproductive tract is frequently studied as a site of sexually transmitted infections; however, the upper reproductive tract may also be a portal of entry and dissemination for pathogens, including HIV-1.

Method of Study

Endometrial biopsy, endocervical curettage, cytobrush, and blood were collected during mid-luteal phase from 23 healthy women. T-cells were isolated and analyzed by flow cytometry.

Results

As compared with their counterparts in blood, endometrial and endocervical T-cells had enhanced CCR5 expression, and were enriched for activated, effector memory cells. Endometrial T-cells were more responsive to polyclonal stimuli, producing a broad range of cytokines and chemokines.

Conclusion

These findings underscore the responsiveness of endometrial T-cells to stimulation, and reveal their activated phenotype. These findings also suggest susceptibility of the upper reproductive tract to HIV-1 infection.

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