Cervicovaginal Levels of Proinflammatory Cytokines Are Increased During Chlamydial Infection in Bacterial Vaginosis But Not in Lactobacilli-Dominated Flora

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The purpose of this study was to assess the cervicovaginal levels of proinflammatory cytokines in women with Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) infection in the presence of bacterial vaginosis (BV) and normal flora and to compare with those negative for CT.

Materials and Methods

In this cross-sectional study, nonpregnant women were enrolled at 2 outpatient clinics and at 1 primary medical care unit in São Paulo State, Brazil. Cervicovaginal samples from 256 women with BV, of which 68 (26.6%) had concomitant CT infection and 188 (73.4%) were CT-negative, were measured for interleukin-1β (IL-1β), IL-6, and IL-8 by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. A matching number of samples from women with normal flora, CT-positive (n = 68) and negative (n = 188), were evaluated as control. Cytokine levels were compared by Mann-Whitney test and differences were considered significant at p < .05.


In CT-negative women, IL-1β was increased in BV (p < .001) when compared to normal flora, while the levels of IL-6 and IL8 were unchanged. The presence of CT infection was not associated with differences on cytokine levels in women with normal flora. However, women with BV had higher levels of IL-1β (p = .02), IL-6 (p = .02), and IL-8 (p = .03) in the presence of CT when compared to those who tested negative for CT.


Detection of endocervical CT is associated with increased cervicovaginal IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-8 levels in women with concomitant BV but not in those with normal flora.

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