The American journal of pathology

Lymphoid follicles are generated in high-grade cervical dysplasia and have differing characteristics depending on HIV status.

PMID 11786409


The exact role of the mucosal immune response in the pathogenesis of human papillomavirus (HPV)-related premalignant and malignant diseases of the genital tract is poorly understood. We used immunohistochemical analysis to characterize immune cells in normal cervix (N = 21), HIV-negative high-grade dysplasia (N = 21), and HIV-positive high-grade dysplasia (N = 30). Classical germinal centers were present in 4.7% of normal cervix, 33% of high-grade lesions from HIV-negative women, and 3.3% of high-grade lesions from HIV-positive women (P = 0.003). HPV16 E7 antigen was detected in a subset of germinal centers, indicating that the secondary immune response was directed in part against HPV. Lymphoid follicles were present in 9.5% of normal cervix, 57% of HIV-negative high-grade dysplasia, and 50% of HIV-positive high-grade dysplasia (P = 0.001 normal versus high-grade). A novel type of lymphoid aggregate, consisting predominantly of CD8(+) T cells, was detected in 4.8% of normal cervix, 0% of HIV-negative high-grade dysplasia, and 40% of HIV-positive high-grade dysplasia (P < 0.001). The recurrence rate of high-grade dysplasia within one year was significantly higher in women with such CD8(+) T cell-dominant aggregates (P = 0.02). In summary, the types of lymphoid follicle in lesions from HIV-positive women were significantly different from those from HIV-negative women, and these differences are associated with the worse clinical outcome in HIV-positive women.