Bacterial vaginosis in HIV-infected women induces reversible alterations in the cervical immune environment

Anuradha Rebbapragada, Kathryn Howe, Charles Wachihi, Christopher Pettengell, Sherzana Sunderji, Sanja Huibner, T. Blake Ball, Francis A. Plummer, Walter Jaoko, Rupert Kaul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Background: Bacterial vaginosis (BV) has been associated with increased HIV cervicovaginal shedding. We hypothesized that this might relate to BV-associated increases in mucosal activated CD4+ T cells, which could enhance local HIV replication. Methods: Vaginal flora, cytokine/chemokine levels, and mucosal immune cell populations collected by cervical cytobrush were analyzed in 15 HIV-infected Kenyan female sex workers, before and after BV therapy with oral metronidazole. Results: Therapy reduced the Nugent score in all but 1 participant, and BV elimination was associated with reduced genital levels of interleukin 1β(IL1β), interleukin 8 (IL-8), and Regulated Upon Activation Normal T-cell Expressed and Secreted (RANTES). In addition, BV elimination reduced the total number of cervical CD4+ T cells, including those expressing the HIV coreceptor CCR5 and the activation marker CD69. Conclusions: BV induces significant and reversible alterations in cervical immune cell populations and local inflammatory cytokines that would be expected to enhance local HIV replication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)520-522
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Altered vaginal flora
  • Bacterial vaginosis
  • Genital tract
  • HIV
  • Inflammation
  • Mucosal immunology
  • Transmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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