Lymphocyte shedding from genital tract of human immunodeficiency virus–infected women: Immunophenotypic and clinical correlates


      OBJECTIVE: Our purpose was to describe the lymphocyte subpopulations in genital tract samples from human immunodeficiency virus–infected women and the clinical correlates associated with lymphocyte shedding. STUDY DESIGN: Genital tract samples of women infected with human immunodeficiency virus-1 were processed for immunophenotyping analysis with a FACScan flow cytometer. Immunologic and virologic characteristics of women with and without lymphocyte shedding were compared with t test, Wilcoxon rank test, or Fisher's exact test. RESULTS: The rate of genital lymphocyte shedding among human immunodeficiency virus-1–infected women was 39%. Genital shedding was not related to age, race, use of antiretroviral therapy, or positive human immunodeficiency virus-1 culture. A negative rank correlation (r = −0.71, p = 0.047) between CD3+CD4+ counts in peripheral blood and genital tract was observed. The majority of the lymphocyte cells were CD3+CD8+, and >80% of the CD3+CD4+ cells were memory cells. CONCLUSION: The immune profile of the genital tract lymphocytes is suggestive of a local mucosal immune response. (Am J Obstet Gynecol 1997;176:158-65.)


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