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.
- VIROLOGY CLINICAL
- HIV WOMEN
- CERVICAL NEOPLASIA
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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.