Epithelial cell responses to infection with human papillomavirus.

Clinical Microbiology Reviews
Margaret A Stanley


Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection of the genital tract is common in young sexually active individuals, the majority of whom clear the infection without overt clinical disease. Most of those who do develop benign lesions eventually mount an effective cell-mediated immune (CMI) response, and the lesions regress. Regression of anogenital warts is accompanied histologically by a CD4(+) T cell-dominated Th1 response; animal models support this and provide evidence that the response is modulated by antigen-specific CD4(+) T cell-dependent mechanisms. Failure to develop an effective CMI response to clear or control infection results in persistent infection and, in the case of the oncogenic HPVs, an increased probability of progression to high-grade intraepithelial neoplasia and invasive carcinoma. Effective evasion of innate immune recognition seems to be the hallmark of HPV infections. The viral infectious cycle is exclusively intraepithelial: there is no viremia and no virus-induced cytolysis or cell death, and viral replication and release are not associated with inflammation. HPV globally downregulates the innate immune signaling pathways in the infected keratinocyte. Proinflammatory cytokines, particularly the type I interfero...Continue Reading


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