For example, epithelial cells from the upper tract of postmenopausal women lack the capacity to secrete antimicrobials compared to pre-menopausal women.13 When planning studies of response to microbicides or vaccination, investigators should decide whether to include menopausal women or whether
to control for menopausal status in analyses. Pregnancy may increase the risk of HIV acquisition and is associated with marked hormonal and immunologic changes. A large, rigorous study carried out in Rakai, Ku-0059436 purchase Uganda, found that women were at significantly increased risk of HIV acquisition during pregnancy. Data from a community cohort with longitudinal data were analyzed for the incidence rate of HIV during pregnancy and lactation, and compared to the incidence rate during periods of non-pregnancy and non-lactation. The incidence rate was 2.3
per 100 person years in pregnancy when compared to 1.1 per 100 person years in non-pregnant and lactating women. This study was rigorous because sexual behavior was recorded Luminespib mouse as part of a community, epidemiologic study. This difference in incidence rates resulted in an incident rate ratio of HIV acquisition in pregnancy of 2.16 (95% CI 1.39–3.37) after adjusting for age, marital status, education, multiple sex partners, genital ulcer disease, and condom use.14 Data remain conflicting, however, regarding the risk of HIV infection in pregnancy. Other studies also carried out in Africa failed to confirm the findings in the Rakai study.15,16 The ability of the mother’s body to tolerate a fetus that is not genetically identical
to her has long been a topic of immunologic interest. While there are immunologic changes that occur at the Isotretinoin maternal–fetal interface to allow the mother to tolerate her semi-allogeneic fetus, there are also major components of the lower genital tract that play an important role in immunity and modification of these may not be beneficial to the mother. The concentration of some antimicrobial peptides thought to be important in anti-HIV activity is frequently altered in pregnancy. In normal pregnancy, secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor concentrations are significantly greater than in the non-pregnant state, particularly in the cervical mucous.17 Kutteh and Franklin18 followed 36 pregnant women through pregnancy and found increasing concentrations of IL-1β, a pro-inflammatory cytokine during the course of pregnancy. Donders et al. performed a small, prospective cohort study examining the changes in cytokine concentrations of 30 women during normal pregnancy. They found that, compared to non-pregnant women, pregnant women were less likely to have detectable IL-6 and IL-8 and that the concentrations of these molecules dipped during the second trimester. The concentrations then returned to pre-pregnancy levels in the third trimester.