In women, the genital epithelial cells (GECS) that line the reproductive tract are the first line of defence against sexually transmitted pathogens. Previous studies by Dr. Kaushic’s team have shown the ability of GECS from the upper reproductive tract to induce an inflammatory response following HIV-1 exposure, that may facilitate HIV-1 translocation and infection. In their most recent publication, Dr. Kaushic’s team, led by McMaster research scientist Aisha Nazli, report the ability of endometrial and endocervical GECs to simultaneously induce interferon-β (IFNβ) antiviral responses following exposure to HIV-1. This, in turn, gives rise to a protective effect on the mucosal barrier – a pivotal finding that helps aid our understanding of HIV infectivity in the female reproductive tract.
Read the full publication in Cellular & Molecular Immunology.