Objective: Interleukin-8 (IL-8, CXCL8) plays important roles in immune responses at mucosal sites including in the lower genital tract. Since several types of bacteria produce proteases that cleave IL-8 and many types of bacteria can be present in lower genital tract microbiota, we assessed genital fluids for IL-8 cleavage/alteration. Study Design: Genital fluids collected by lavage from 200 women (23 HIV-seronegative and 177 HIV-seropositive) were tested for IL-8 cleavage/alteration by ELISA. Results: IL-8 cleaving/altering activity was observed in fluids from both HIV-positive (28%) and HIV-negative women (35%). There was no clear relationship between the activity and the types of bacteria present in the lower genital tract as determined by high-throughput sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. Protease inhibitors specific for matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) reduced the activity and a multiplex assay that detects both inactive and active MMPs showed the presence of multiple MMPs, including MMP-1, -3, -7, -8, -9, -10 and -12 in genital secretions from many of the women. The IL-8-cleaving/altering activity significantly correlated with active MMP-9 as well as with cleavage of a substrate that is acted on by several active MMPs. Conclusions: These studies show that multiple MMPs are present in the genital tract of women and strongly suggest that MMP-9 in genital secretions can cleave IL-8 at this mucosal site. These studies suggest that MMP-mediated cleavage of IL-8 can modulate inflammatory responses in the lower genital tract.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)