Problem: Interferon-epsilon (IFNε) is the only type I IFN constitutively expressed in the female reproductive tract and fluctuates across the menstrual cycle in humans. Mouse models show that IFNε protects against Chlamydia trachomatis, Herpes Simplex Virus, HIV, and Zika in mice, but human studies are limited. Bacterial sexually transmitted infections (STI) can ascend to the upper genital tract and cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and subsequent infertility. However, the host immunological mechanisms that play a role in the ascension and infection of the endometrium in individuals with clinically suspected PID are not elucidated. Method of study: This pilot investigation determined if IFNε gene variants are associated with bacterial vaginosis (BV) and endometrial infection with C. trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and Mycoplasma genitalium using biospecimens from 154 self-report Black individuals who participated in the PID Evaluation and Clinical Health (PEACH) study. Results: The T allele for rs2039381 was associated with endometrial STI infection (OR 2.7, 95% CI: 1.0-7.1) and the C allele for rs1125488 was inversely associated with BV (OR:.2, 95% CI:.05-.8). Conclusions: Few studies have examined IFNε gene variants, our study raises the possibility that IFNε gene variants may be a potential host contributor to STI pathogenesis.
- sexually transmitted diseases
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy
- Reproductive Medicine
- Obstetrics and Gynecology