Vulvodynia is a chronic pain syndrome with unknown etiology, characterized by burning pain of the vulva, affecting up to 16% of women in the US. The objective of this study is to compare the multiple cytokine expression in vestibulodynia patients versus normal control women.METHODS:
Vaginal rinses were collected from 32 vestibulodynia patients and 26 matched healthy volunteers. All participants signed written informed consent. Aliquots were kept frozen and later semi-quantitative detection of 40 human cytokines was done, using Ray-Biotech Human Inflammation Antibody Array C3. The chemiluminescence detection of the products was performed using x-ray films. Numerical densitometry data were obtained using NIH software program ImageJ, 1.49r. Statistical analysis was done by performing Student's t test (2 tails, unequal variances), and using Excel's Analysis ToolPak.RESULTS:
IL-8 was statistically significantly increased (1.7 times, P=.00021) in vestibulodynia patients vs controls. Interleukins GM-CFS, MCSF, and IL-10 were elevated in vestibulodynia patients 1.27, 1.2, and 1.22 times, respectively, although this increase was not statistically significant. Interleukins IL-1β, RANTES, IL-2, IL-15, TGF-β1, IL-16, TNF-α, IL-4, IL-17, IP-10, EOTAXIN-1 and -2, IL-6, IL-6sR, MCP-1, G-CFS, TIMP-2, PDGF-BB, I-309, MIP-1β, IL-1α, MIP-1δ were statistically significantly (P<.001, or P<.005) decreased in vestibulodynia patients in comparison with healthy volunteers.CONCLUSION/IMPLICATIONS:
These new findings about the cytokine and chemokine profile in vestibulodynia suggests that vestibulodynia is a non-classical inflammatory condition and cytokine-mediated pain syndrome. Additional research needs to be conducted to explore the increase in IL-8 and the decrease of other inflammation markers to understand and be able to develop therapies for vestibulodynia.