Human papillomavirus type 16 E2-specific T-helper lymphocyte responses in patients with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia

Hetty J. Bontkes, Tanja D. De Gruijl, Astrid Bijl, René H.M. Verheijen, Chris J.L.M. Meijer, Rik J. Scheper, Peter L. Stern, Julie E. Burns, Norman J. Maitland, Jan M.M. Walboomers

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T-cell-mediated immune responses against mucosal oncogenic types of human papillomaviruses (HPV) are thought to play a role in the control of the virus infection and its associated cervical lesions. The in vitro production of interleukin-2 by T-helper (Th) cells in response to the C-terminal and N-terminal domains of the HPV-16 E2 protein was determined in 74 women with cytological evidence of premalignant cervical epithelial neoplasia who participated in a non-intervention follow-up (FU) study. Cross-sectional analysis at the end of FU showed that Th cell responses against the C-terminal domain were associated with evidence of previous or present HPV-16 infection as compared to patients with no evidence of any HPV infection (18.9% versus 0% P = 0.039). Th cell responses against the N-terminal domain were not associated with evidence of HPV-16 infection. No association with disease outcome was observed with Th cell responses against either of the E2 protein domains. However, longitudinal analysis revealed that Th cell responses against the C-terminal domain frequently occur at the time of virus clearance. Whether these responses are responsible for the clearance of the virus is not known.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2453-2459
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of general virology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1999

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