Expression Profiles of Antimicrobial Peptides in the Genital Tract of Women Using Progesterone Intrauterine Devices Versus Combined Oral Contraceptives

Authors

  • Andrea Introini,

    Corresponding author
    1. Unit of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine Solna, Center for Molecular Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
    • Correspondence

      Andrea Introini, Center for Molecular Medicine L8:01, Karolinska University Hospital, 17176 Stockholm, Sweden.

      E-mail: andrea.introini@ki.se

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    • These authors contributed equally to this article.
  • Tove Kaldensjö,

    1. Unit of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine Solna, Center for Molecular Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
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    • These authors contributed equally to this article.
  • Taha Hirbod,

    1. Unit of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine Solna, Center for Molecular Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • Maria Röhl,

    1. Unit of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine Solna, Center for Molecular Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • Annelie Tjernlund,

    1. Unit of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine Solna, Center for Molecular Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • Sonia Andersson,

    1. Division of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Department of Women's and Children's Health, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • Kristina Broliden

    1. Unit of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine Solna, Center for Molecular Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
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Abstract

Problem

Sex hormones can influence the immune defenses of the female genital tract (FGT) and its susceptibility to infections. Here we investigated the effect of different hormonal contraceptives on the production of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) in different compartments of the female genital mucosa (FGM), secretions and tissue.

Method of study

Cervicovaginal secretions (CVS) and ectocervical tissue samples obtained from women using progesterone intrauterine devices (pIUD) (n = 23) and combined oral contraceptives (COC) (n = 23) were analyzed for the expression and in situ localization of HNP1-3, BD-2, LL-37, SLPI and trappin-2 by ELISA, real-time PCR and immunohistochemistry.

Results

Women using COC had significantly lower mRNA levels of BD-2 and trappin-2 in ectocervical tissue than pIUD users. The two groups showed no differences in CVS concentration, as well as similar in situ expression patterns in ectocervical tissue, of all five AMPs.

Conclusions

The use of hormonal contraceptives influences AMP expression differently in genital secretions compared to ectocervical tissue. This suggests that the impact of sex hormones on local immune defenses varies in different compartments of the FGM, and likely in different locations across the FGT.

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