Pathological roles of antimicrobial peptides and pro-inflammatory factors secreted from the cervical epithelium in Gardnerella vaginalis-abundant vaginal flora in pregnancy

Erina Matsuda, Kazuhide Takada, Osamu Kobayashi, Takahiro Nakajima, Yuji Ikeda, Mikiko Asai-Sato, Kaori Kawakami, Atsushi Komatsu, Fumihisa Chishima, Shihoko Komine-Aizawa, Satoshi Hayakawa, Kei Kawana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Bacterial vaginosis due to Gardnerella vaginalis (GV) is one of the main causes of preterm birth. Antimicrobial function of the cervical glands prevents ascending pathogen infection. This study investigated the effect of GV on the cervical gland cells. We examined the correlation between GV and neutrophil elastase in the cervical mucous obtained from pregnant women's clinical samples. Culture supernatants (sup) of GV and Lactobacillus crispatus (LC) were added to human immortalized cervical gland cells (EndoCx). Quantitative reverse transcription PCR (RT-qPCR) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) were used to examine the effects on the production of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), secretory leukocyte peptidase inhibitor (SLPI), and Elafin. mRNA microarray analysis revealed the expression profile of GV-exposed EndoCx. Moreover, the antimicrobial activity of Elafin against LC and GV was investigated. In the clinical samples, neutrophil elastase was increased in the GV-positive cervical mucous. In an in vitro assay, RT-qPCR and ELISA showed that GV-sup enhanced the secretion of Elafin, but not SLPI, from EndoCx, whereas LC-sup did not. mRNA microarray assay and ELISA results demonstrated that GV-sup enhanced the proinflammatory pathway and interleukin (IL)− 8 secretion from EndoCx as well as cell adhesion and tight junction pathways. Moreover, GV-sup directly enhanced Elafin and IL-8 secretion from the cervical gland cells. In the GV-abundant vaginal flora, IL-8 level increased the neutrophil elastase activity and Elafin inhibited the elastase activity to protect from tissue damage and infection. Thus, the balance of IL-8-induced neutrophil and Elafin-induced antiprotease activities may be crucial in preterm labor.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103797
JournalJournal of Reproductive Immunology
Volume156
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023

Keywords

  • Antimicrobial peptide
  • Cervix
  • Elafin
  • Gardnerella
  • Lactobacillus
  • Neutrophil elastase
  • Vagina

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