Citation Shust GF, Cho S, Kim M, Madan RP, Guzman EM, Pollack M, Epstein J, Cohen HW, Keller MJ, Herold BC. Female genital tract secretions inhibit herpes simplex virus infection: correlation with soluble mucosal immune mediators and impact of hormonal contraception. Am J Reprod Immunol 2010; 63: 110–119
Problem Female genital tract secretions inhibit herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection, however, the intra- and inter-subject variability, contribution of specific mediators, and impact of reproductive hormones have not been defined.
Method of study Cervicovaginal lavage (CVL) (n = 89) obtained from nine cyclers and seven women on hormonal contraception (HC), who completed between three and eight weekly visits, were examined for anti-herpes simplex virus activity and concentrations of mediators.
Results The CVL inhibited HSV infection by a mean value of approximately 57% during the follicular or luteal phase, but only by 36% in hormonal contraceptive users. Human neutrophil peptides 1–3 (HNP1-3) (P = 0.03), IL-8 (P = 0.003), lactoferrin (P = 0.005), lysozyme (P = 0.003), IgA (P = 0.002), and IgG (P = 0.02) correlated with antiviral activity. Intra-subject and inter-subject variability was observed, suggesting that factors other than hormones contribute to innate defense.
Conclusion Endogenous antimicrobial activity may provide a biomarker of healthy mucosal immunity and may be reduced in the setting of HC. However, larger prospective studies are needed.