The human microbiome is the collection of microorganisms in the body that exist in a mutualistic relationship with the host. Recent studies indicate that perturbations in the microbiome may be implicated in a number of diseases, including cancer. More specifically, changes in the gut and vaginal microbiomes may be associated with a variety of gynecologic cancers, including cervical cancer, uterine cancer, and ovarian cancer. Current research and gaps in knowledge regarding the association between the gut and vaginal microbiomes and the development, progression, and treatment of gynecologic cancers are reviewed here. In addition, the potential use of probiotics to manage symptoms of these gynecologic cancers is discussed. A better understanding of how the microbiome composition is altered at these sites and its interaction with the host may aid in prevention, optimization of current therapies, development of new therapeutic agents and/or dosing regimens, and possibly limit the side effects associated with cancer treatment.
IL-36γ is a proinflamatory cytokine which belongs to the IL-1 family of cytokines. It is expressed in the skin and by epithelial cells (ECs) lining lung and gut tissue. We used human 3-D organotypic cells, that recapitulate either in vivo human vaginal or cervical tissue, to explore the possible role of IL-36γ in host defense against pathogens in the human female reproductive tract (FRT). EC were exposed to compounds derived from virus or bacterial sources and induction and regulation of IL-36γ and its receptor was determined. Polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid (poly I:C), flagellin, and synthetic lipoprotein (FSL-1) significantly induced expression of IL-36γ in a dose-dependent manner, and appeared to be TLR-dependent. Recombinant IL-36γ treatment resulted in self-amplification of IL-36γ and its receptor (IL-36R) via increased gene expression, and promoted other inflammatory signaling pathways. This is the first report to demonstrate that the IL-36 receptor and IL-36γ are present in the human FRT EC and that they are differentially induced by microbial products at this site. We conclude that IL-36γ is a driver for epithelial and immune activation following microbial insult and, as such, may play a critical role in host defense in the FRT.
Chapter within the Encyclopedia of Reproduction
Virus-like particles (VLPs) are an active area of vaccine research, development and commercialization. Mucosal administration of VLPs provides an attractive avenue for delivery of vaccines with the potential to produce robust immune responses. Nasal and oral delivery routes are particularly intriguing due to differential activation of mucosa-associated lymphoid tissues. We compared both intranasal and oral administration of VLPs with a panel of toll-like receptor (TLR) agonists (TLR3, 5, 7, 7/8, and 9) to determine the mucosal adjuvant activity of these immunomodulators. We selected Norwalk virus (NV) VLPs because it is an effective model antigen and an active area of research and commercialization. To prioritize these adjuvants, VLP-specific antibody production in serum (IgG, IgG1, IgG2a), vaginal lavages (IgG, IgA), and fecal pellets (IgA) were measured across a longitudinal timeseries in vaccinated mice. Additional distal mucosal sites (nasal, brochoalveolar, salivary, and gastrointestinal) were evaluated for VLP-specific responses (IgA). Intranasal co-delivery of VLPs with TLR7 or TLR9 agonists produced the most robust and broad-spectrum immune responses, systemically and at distal mucosal sites inducing VLP-specific antibodies at all sites evaluated. In addition, these VLP-specific antibodies blocked binding of NV VLPs to histo-blood group antigen (H type 1), supporting their functionality. Oral administration and/or other TLR agonists tested in the panel did not consistently enhance VLP-specific immune responses. This study demonstrates that intranasal co-delivery of VLPs with TLR7 or TLR9 agonists provides dose-sparing advantages for induction of specific and functional antibody responses against VLPs (i.e., non-replicating antigens) in the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and reproductive tract.