Milken Institute School of Public Health Poster Presentations (Marvin Center & Video)

Title

Impact of Sexual Violence on Chemokines in the Female Genital Tract: Risk of HIV acquisition

Poster Number

61

Document Type

Poster

Status

Graduate Student - Masters

Abstract Category

Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Keywords

HIV, Immunology, Womens Health, Sexual Violence, Chemokines

Publication Date

4-2017

Abstract

Sexual violence is a known risk factor in HIV acquisition and transmission, and may cause dysregulation of genital immune microenvironment. IP-10, MCP-1 and MIP-3α are chemokines that act as chemo-attractants for macrophages and T-cells. Since macrophages and T-cells are targets for HIV, increase in these chemokines may lead to an increased risk of HIV infection in women experiencing sexual violence.

Cases were defined as women who had experienced non-consensual vaginal intercourse in the last 3 months (n=42) and controls, defined as women who had no history of sexual violence, were recruited from the local Washington DC community (n=63). Cervical-vaginal lavage (CVL) samples were collected by washing the cervical-vaginal tract with 10 mL of sterile saline. Premenopausal women were asked to return 4 more times over 8 weeks to collect information about their menstrual cycle. Post-menopausal women were asked to return as well to match premenopausal women. Samples were analyzed by standard Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) (R&D Systems) for three chemokines, MCP-1, IP-10, and MIP-3α according to manufacturer’s protocol. Data was analyzed using GraphPad Prism (version 5.04) and SAS version 9.4. Multiple visits were treated as distinct records for analysis.

We observed MIP-3α to have significantly lower levels (p<0.0001) in Cases compared to Controls. In addition, MIP-3α levels were also affected by menopausal status showing significantly lower values for both premenopausal Cases (p=0.0004) and post-menopausal Cases (p=0.0147) relative to their respective Control groups. The results from MCP-1 was different, showing a significantly (p=0.0196) lower concentration in Cases compared to Controls. Stratifying by menopausal status, we found significantly lower levels of MCP-1 in post-menopausal Cases (p=0.0297). We also found that MCP-1 levels were decreased among pre-menopausal Cases but these results were not statistically significant. Analysis of IP-10 levels in CVL revealed no statistically significant differences in between Cases and Controls or between premenopausal and postmenopausal status.

Our results indicate that sexual violence may cause immunological changes in the genital tract microenvironment in a manner that might enhance risk of HIV infection. All three chemokines that we analyzed function to attract T-cells and macrophages to an area of localized inflammation caused by damage to tissues or infection. Additionally, menopausal status might alter the immune environment further and therefore should be considered in studies involving women’s health and HIV.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Open Access

1

Comments

To be presented at GW Annual Research Days 2017.

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Impact of Sexual Violence on Chemokines in the Female Genital Tract: Risk of HIV acquisition

Sexual violence is a known risk factor in HIV acquisition and transmission, and may cause dysregulation of genital immune microenvironment. IP-10, MCP-1 and MIP-3α are chemokines that act as chemo-attractants for macrophages and T-cells. Since macrophages and T-cells are targets for HIV, increase in these chemokines may lead to an increased risk of HIV infection in women experiencing sexual violence.

Cases were defined as women who had experienced non-consensual vaginal intercourse in the last 3 months (n=42) and controls, defined as women who had no history of sexual violence, were recruited from the local Washington DC community (n=63). Cervical-vaginal lavage (CVL) samples were collected by washing the cervical-vaginal tract with 10 mL of sterile saline. Premenopausal women were asked to return 4 more times over 8 weeks to collect information about their menstrual cycle. Post-menopausal women were asked to return as well to match premenopausal women. Samples were analyzed by standard Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) (R&D Systems) for three chemokines, MCP-1, IP-10, and MIP-3α according to manufacturer’s protocol. Data was analyzed using GraphPad Prism (version 5.04) and SAS version 9.4. Multiple visits were treated as distinct records for analysis.

We observed MIP-3α to have significantly lower levels (p<0.0001) in Cases compared to Controls. In addition, MIP-3α levels were also affected by menopausal status showing significantly lower values for both premenopausal Cases (p=0.0004) and post-menopausal Cases (p=0.0147) relative to their respective Control groups. The results from MCP-1 was different, showing a significantly (p=0.0196) lower concentration in Cases compared to Controls. Stratifying by menopausal status, we found significantly lower levels of MCP-1 in post-menopausal Cases (p=0.0297). We also found that MCP-1 levels were decreased among pre-menopausal Cases but these results were not statistically significant. Analysis of IP-10 levels in CVL revealed no statistically significant differences in between Cases and Controls or between premenopausal and postmenopausal status.

Our results indicate that sexual violence may cause immunological changes in the genital tract microenvironment in a manner that might enhance risk of HIV infection. All three chemokines that we analyzed function to attract T-cells and macrophages to an area of localized inflammation caused by damage to tissues or infection. Additionally, menopausal status might alter the immune environment further and therefore should be considered in studies involving women’s health and HIV.