Trichomonas vaginalis: In vitro attachment and internalization of HIV-1 and HIV-1-infected lymphocytes

José Rendón-Maldonado, Martha Espinosa-Cantellano, Carmen Soler, Jose V Torres, Adolfo Martínez-Palomo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) caused by bacteria and protozoa play an important role in the epidemiology of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) infection. Human trichomoniasis, produced by the protozoan parasite Trichomonas vaginalis, is one of the most common STDs, and is a cause of mucosal lesions in the urogenital tract, which may increase the risk for HIV infection. However, there are no reports concerning the outcome of in vitro interactions between HIV particles and trichomonads. Therefore, we incubated T. vaginalis with three subtypes of HIV-1 (A, B, and D), as well as with HIV-1-infected lymphocytes, and analyzed the interactions with immunofluorescence microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. Our results demonstrated that HIV-1 particles attach and are incorporated into T. vaginalis through endocytic vesicles and are degraded within cytoplasmic vacuoles in approximately 48 h. There was no ultrastructural evidence of H1V-1 replication in trichomonads. These results demonstrated that trichomonads may internalize and harbor HIV-1 particles for short periods of time. In addition, under in vitro conditions, T. vaginalis ingests and digests HIV-1-infected lymphocytes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-48
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Eukaryotic Microbiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2003


  • HIV infection
  • Immunofluorescence
  • Protozoan infections
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Transmission electron microscopy
  • Trichomoniasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Microbiology


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