Altered expression of adhesion molecules in inflammatory cervical smears

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The aim of the present study was to evaluate the expression of pan-cadherin and β-catenin in cervical smears with various types of infectious agents.

Patients and Methods

Cervical smears obtained from 53 women, aged 21–65 years, with a diagnosis of specific inflammation were examined in our study. Eighteen subjects were infected by Candida albicans, 18 by Gardnerella vaginalis, nine by Bacteroides spp. and eight by Chlamydia trachomatis. All infectious agents found in the smears were at the same time confirmed by the microbiological laboratory methods. We performed a biotin–streptavidin-peroxidase immunocytochemical method using anti-β-catenin (Clone 12F7) and anti-pan-cadherin (pan, polyclonal) antibodies.


Aberrant expression of pan-cadherin was found in the cytoplasmic membrane of glandular, metaplastic, superficial and intermediate squamous cells in all types of infections. With regard to β-catenin, this was expressed in majority (90%) of glandular and metaplastic cells in all types of infections and in a small proportion (15%) of superficial and intermediate squamous cells in infections caused by C. albicans and G.vaginalis.


Our data show that infectious agents may cause alterations in the expression and distribution of these adhesive molecules, which can be recognized in cervical smears. Additional studies in larger sets of patients should help clarify this issue further.

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