The overall objective of this research is to understand the role that human female reproductive tract (FRT) epithelial cells play in innate immune protection against HIV-1. As sentinels of innate immune defense, epithelial cells throughout the reproductive tract are the first line of protection against sexually transmitted infections and are crucial for orchestrating a rapid response to potential viral pathogens. Our goal in this proposal is to test the hypothesis that epithelial cells from White-American, African- American, and Tanzanian women exhibit intracellular and secreted antiviral activity that protects the reproductive tract against HIV-1.
The specific aims of the current research project are to answer the following questions: 1) To what extent do epithelial cell secretions protect the female reproductive tract from HIV-1? 2) Do intracellular antiviral factors inhibit HIV-1 replication? 3) To what extent do candidate topical microbicides affect epithelial cell innate defenses? 4) Do epithelial cells influence the risk of HIV-1 infection of T cells and macrophages in the underlying stromal FRT? 5) Do FRT epithelial cells from Tanzanian women exhibit secreted and/or intracellular mechanisms of protection against HIV-1? We plan to investigate these questions using human primary epithelial cells from throughout the female reproductive tract and reproductive tract cell lines, since these cells are infectable by HIV-1, capable of protecting against HIV-1 infection, and responsive to sex hormones. The research described in this proposal will further our understanding of the mucosal immune responses involved in defending against HIV-1 and should lead to the identification of ways to augment protective responses. These studies should provide the basis of knowledge essential for the development of more effective microbicides and therapeutic interventions.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
AIDS Clinical Studies and Epidemiology Study Section (ACE)
Program Officer
Veronese, Fulvia D
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Dartmouth College
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Ghosh, Mimi; Rodriguez-Garcia, Marta; Wira, Charles R (2014) The immune system in menopause: pros and cons of hormone therapy. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol 142:171-5
Wira, Charles R; Rodriguez-Garcia, Marta; Shen, Zheng et al. (2014) The role of sex hormones and the tissue environment in immune protection against HIV in the female reproductive tract. Am J Reprod Immunol 72:171-81
Rodriguez-Garcia, M; Barr, F D; Crist, S G et al. (2014) Phenotype and susceptibility to HIV infection of CD4+ Th17 cells in the human female reproductive tract. Mucosal Immunol 7:1375-85
Haddad, Severina N; Wira, Charles R (2014) Estradiol regulation of constitutive and keratinocyte growth factor-induced CCL20 and CXCL1 secretion by mouse uterine epithelial cells. Am J Reprod Immunol 72:34-44
Hickey, Danica K; Fahey, John V; Wira, Charles R (2013) Mouse estrous cycle regulation of vaginal versus uterine cytokines, chemokines, *-/*-defensins and TLRs. Innate Immun 19:121-31
Hickey, Danica K; Fahey, John V; Wira, Charles R (2013) Estrogen receptor * antagonists mediate changes in CCL20 and CXCL1 secretions in the murine female reproductive tract. Am J Reprod Immunol 69:159-67
Ghosh, Mimi; Rodriguez-Garcia, Marta; Wira, Charles R (2013) Immunobiology of genital tract trauma: endocrine regulation of HIV acquisition in women following sexual assault or genital tract mutilation. Am J Reprod Immunol 69 Suppl 1:51-60
Coleman, Kimberly D; Ghosh, Mimi; Crist, Sarah G et al. (2012) Modulation of hepatocyte growth factor secretion in human female reproductive tract stromal fibroblasts by poly (I:C) and estradiol. Am J Reprod Immunol 67:44-53
Wira, Charles R; Patel, Mickey V; Ghosh, Mimi et al. (2011) Innate immunity in the human female reproductive tract: endocrine regulation of endogenous antimicrobial protection against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Am J Reprod Immunol 65:196-211
Wira, Charles R; Veronese, Fulvia (2011) Mucosal immunity in the male and female reproductive tract and prevention of HIV transmission. Am J Reprod Immunol 65:182-5

Showing the most recent 10 out of 18 publications