HIV target cells in Schistosoma haematobium-infected female genital mucosa

Jourdan PM, Holmen SD, Gundersen SG, Roald B, Kjetland EF

Journal title: The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene

Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 2011 Dec;85(6):1060-4

PMID: 22144444

Article on PubMed:


The parasite Schistosoma haematobium frequently causes genital lesions in women and could increase the risk of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission. This study quantifies the HIV target cells in schistosome-infected female genital mucosa. Cervicovaginal biopsies with and without schistosomiasis were immunostained for quantification of CD4(+) T lymphocytes (CD3, CD8), macrophages (CD68), and dendritic Langerhans cells (S100 protein). We found significantly higher densities of genital mucosal CD4(+) T lymphocytes and macrophages surrounding schistosome ova compared with cervicovaginal mucosa without ova (P = 0.034 and P = 0.018, respectively). We found no increased density of Langerhans cells (P = 0.25). This study indicates that S. haematobium may significantly increase the density of HIV target cells (CD4(+) T lymphocytes and macrophages) in the female genitals, creating a beneficial setting for HIV transmission. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings and to evaluate the effect of anti-schistosomal treatment on female genital schistosomiasis.