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Detection of four human polyomaviruses (MCPyV, HPyV6, HPyV7 and TSPyV) in cervical specimens from HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected women
  1. Pratt Kolia-Diafouka1,
  2. Vincent Foulongne1,2,
  3. Nathalie Boulle1,2,
  4. Jean Ngou1,
  5. Helen Kelly3,
  6. Bernard Sawadogo4,
  7. Sinead Delany-Moretlwe5,
  8. Philippe Mayaud3,5,
  9. Michel Segondy1,2
  10. on behalf of the HARP Study Group
    1. 1INSERM U.1058, Université de Montpellier, Montpellier, France
    2. 2Pôle Biologie-Pathologie, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU), Montpellier, France
    3. 3London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
    4. 4Centre de Recherche Internationale pour la Santé (CRIS), Université de Ouagadougou, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
    5. 5Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute, School of Clinical Medicine, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
    1. Correspondence to Dr Michel Segondy, Pôle Biologie-Pathologie, Laboratoire de Virologie, Hôpital Saint-Eloi; Montpellier 34980, Cedex 05, France; m-segondy{at}


    Objectives To investigate the presence of recently discovered human polyomaviruses in cervical specimens collected from African and French women, in relation to HIV serostatus, high-risk human papillomavirus infection (HR-HPV) and cervical disease.

    Methods Cervical specimens were collected from 140 HIV-1-seropositive African women and 50 HIV-seronegative French women. Presence of Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV), human polyomavirus 6 (HPyV6), human polyomavirus 7 (HPyV7) and trichodysplasia spinulosa-associated polyomavirus (TSPyV) was detected by real-time PCR, and presence of HR-HPV DNA by Hybrid Capture 2 assay with subsequent HPV genotyping using the INNO-LiPA HPV Genotyping Extra assay. Cervical biopsies were analysed by histopathology.

    Results The detection rates were 55.3%, 3.2%, 2.1% and 0% for MCPyV, HPyV6, HPyV7 and TSPyV, respectively, with no significant difference by population. The MCPyV viral load ranged from 14 to 210 DNA copies/106 cells (median, 80 DNA copies/106 cells), with no difference between women with and without cervical precancerous lesions. There was no association between detection of human polyomaviruses in cervical specimens and geographical origin/HIV serostatus, HR-HPV coinfection or precancerous cervical lesions.

    Conclusions These observations argue against a possible role of MCPyV as a cofactor in HPV-induced carcinogenesis. MCPyV and, to a lesser extent, HPyV6 and HPyV7 might belong to the female genital tract microbiota.


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    • Handling editor Jackie A Cassell

    • Collaborators Admire Chikandiwa, Tanvier Omar, Pamela Michelow, Olga Goumbri-Lompo, Nicolas Meda, Clare Gilham, Helen Weiss, Sylviane Doutre, Valérie Costes, Marie-Noelle Didelot, Nicolas Nagot and HARP Study Group.

    • Contributors MS, VF and PK-D contributed to the conception and design of the study. PK-D, JN, NB, BS and HK contributed to the acquisition of data. MS, VF, PK-D, HK and PM contributed to analysis and interpretation of data. BS and SD-M supervised the study in Burkina-Faso and South Africa, respectively. MS, VF, PK-D and PM drafted the manuscript. JN, NB, BS, SD-M and HK were involved in critical revision of the manuscript.

    • Funding The HARP project was funded by the European Commission (EC) 7th Framework Programme under grant agreement no HEALTH-2010-F2-265396.

    • Competing interests None declared.

    • Ethics approval Research ethics committees of the Ministry of Health in Burkina Faso (no 2012-12-089), the Witwatersrand University in South Africa (no 110707) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (no 7400).

    • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.