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Distribution of Immune Cells in the Human Cervix and Implications for HIV Transmission
Article first published online: 10 JAN 2014
© 2014 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd
American Journal of Reproductive Immunology
Volume 71, Issue 3, pages 252–264, March 2014
How to Cite
Distribution of immune cells in the human cervix and implications for HIV transmission. Am J Reprod Immunol 2014; 71: 252–264, , .
- Issue published online: 7 FEB 2014
- Article first published online: 10 JAN 2014
- Manuscript Accepted: 11 DEC 2013
- Manuscript Received: 17 SEP 2013
- NIH. Grant Number: AI102816
- Harvard University CFAR. Grant Number: P30 AI060354
- University Medical Center Utrecht (DvB)
- dendritic cells;
- T cells
Knowledge of the mucosal immune cell composition of the human female genital tract is important for understanding susceptibility to HIV-1.
Method of study
We developed an optimized procedure for multicolor flow cytometry analysis of immune cells from human cervix to characterize all major immune cell subsets in the endocervix and ectocervix.
Half of tissue hematopoietic cells were CD14+, many of which were macrophages and about a third were CD11c+, most of which were CD103− CD11b+ CX3CR1+ DC-SIGN+ dendritic cells (DCs). The other dominant population were T cells, with more CD8 than CD4 cells. T cells (both CD8 and CD4) and B cells were more abundant in the ectocervix than endocervix of pre-menopausal women; however, CD8+ T cell and B cell numbers declined in the ectocervix after menopause, while CD4 T cell counts remained higher. B, NK and conventional myeloid and plasmocytoid DCs each were a few percent of tissue hematopoietic cells. Although the ectocervix had more HIV-susceptible CD4+ T cells, polarized endocervical explants supported HIV replication significantly better.
Due to their abundance in the genital tract, CX3CR1+ DC-SIGN+ DCs might be important in HIV transmission. Our data also suggest that the columnar epithelium of the upper genital tract might be a preferential site for HIV transmission.