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J Virol. May 1997; 71(5): 3498–3506.
PMCID: PMC191496
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection of cells and tissues from the upper and lower human female reproductive tract.
A L Howell, R D Edkins, S E Rier, G R Yeaman, J E Stern, M W Fanger, and C R Wira
Department of Veterans Affairs, White River Junction, Vermont 05009, USA. alexandra.howell@dartmouth.EDU
Abstract
Viable tissue sections and isolated cell cultures from the human fallopian tube, uterus, cervix, and vaginal mucosa were examined for susceptibility to infection with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). We examined infectivity by using the monocytotropic strain HIV-1(JR-FL) and several primary isolates of HIV-1 obtained from infected neonates. HIV-1 infection was measured by p24 production in short-term culture and by immunofluorescence detection of HIV-1 Nef and p24 proteins by laser scanning confocal microscopy. Three-color immunofluorescence was used to phenotype HIV-infected cells within tissue sections from each site. Our findings indicate that epithelial, stromal, and dendritic cells and cells with CD14+ CD4+, CD14-CD4-, and CD4+ CD14- phenotypes from the female reproductive tract are infectable with HIV-1. Of importance is the finding that tissues from the upper reproductive tract are susceptible to infection with HIV-1. Moreover, tissue samples from women in all stages of the menstrual cycle, including postmenopausal women (inactive), could be infected with HIV-1. Female reproductive tract cells required a minimum of 60 min of exposure to HIV-1 in order for infection to occur, in contrast to peripheral blood lymphocytes, which became infected after being exposed to HIV-1 for only 1 min. These findings demonstrate that HIV-1 can infect cells and tissues from different sites within the female reproductive tract and suggest that multiple cell types, including epithelial cells, may be targets for the initial infection by HIV-1.
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