HIV Facilitated Paracellular Penetration of HPV across Mucosal Epithelium

Investigator: Joel Palefsky, MD
Sponsor: University of Pennsylvania

Location(s): United States


The incidence of HPV-associated lesions is higher in HIV-infected than in HIV-uninfected individuals. Oral and anogenital mucosal epithelia of HIV/AIDS-positive individuals contain infiltrating HIV-infected immune cells that express viral tat and gp120, and proinflammatory cytokines TNF-a and IFN-g. These proteins may disrupt tight junctions (TJ) of mucosal epithelium, facilitating HPV penetration. Our aims were to investigate how HIV-associated disruption of mucosal epithelium promotes HPV infection.

 Polarized oral and cervical epithelial cells and tissue explants from HIV-uninfected individuals were treated with recombinant HIV-1 tat, gp120, TNF-a and IFN-g independently and together. The cells and tissue explants were exposed to HPV 16 pseudovirions labeled with fluorescent dyes. Paracellular HPV penetration through disrupted epithelium was evaluated by confocal microscopy.