Depot medroxyprogesterone acetate administration increases cervical CCR5+CD4+T cells and induces immunosuppressive milieu at the cervicovaginal mucosa

Carley Tasker, Vanessa Pizutelli, Yungtai Lo, Bharat Ramratnam, Natalie E. Roche, Theresa L. Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objectives:Depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (Depo-Provera) is the most commonly used injectable hormone contraceptive in Sub-Saharan Africa where HIV incidence is high. We determined the impact of Depo-Provera on cervical immune cells and mediators in healthy women.Methods:In this longitudinal study, vaginal, endocervical, and rectal swabs were collected at baseline (visit 1), 1 month (visit 2), and 3 months (visit 3) after Depo-Provera injection. Cervical cells were collected by cytobrush and immune markers on cervical CD4+T cells were analyzed by multicolor flow cytometry at three different visits. The levels of immune mediators in cytobrush supernatants as well as vaginal, cervical, and rectal secretions from swabs were analyzed by multiplex assays and ELISA.Results:Compared with baseline levels, we found a significant increase in the frequency of cervical CCR5+CD4+T cells and a significant decrease in the frequency of cervical central memory CD4+T cells. Depo-Provera treatment had little effect on expression of immune mediators in rectal mucosa but significantly suppressed numerous immune mediators at cervicovaginal mucosa. Levels of MCP-1, G-CSF, IL-6, IL-10, GM-CSF, and IP-10 were significantly decreased in both vaginal and cervical secretions after Depo-Provera injection. In cervical samples collected by cytobrush, we found reduced levels of 22 of 25 immune mediators after Depo-Provera injection. Changes in immune mediators differed between vaginal and cervical mucosa, demonstrating compartment-specific responses.Conclusion:Depo-Provera altered immune profiles of cervical CD4+T cells and suppressed host immune response at cervicovaginal mucosa, suggesting its likely effect on transmission of sexually transmitted infections including HIV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)729-735
Number of pages7
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • Depo-Provera
  • HIV transmission
  • cervical cells
  • hormone contraception
  • immune mediators

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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