One of the main directions of our research is identification of cervicovaginal factors that are linked to susceptibility to HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
- Transcriptomic analysis of cervicovaginal cells in in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo experiments supported by immunohistochemical and biochemical analyses resulted in identification of genes presenting signatures specific for compounds with potential harmful (enhancing HIV transmission) inflammatory/immunomodulatory effects. The identified genes proved to be instrumental in evaluation of safety of new anti-HIV microbicide candidates in in vitro tests prior to their entering into clinical trials as well as in in vivo assessments in the early phase clinical trials.
- Using gene expression profiling of vaginal tissues, we demonstrated that estrogen depletion results in compromised structure of the vaginal epithelium, which implicates enhanced risk of HIV transmission.
- Transcriptomic analysis (supported by immunohistochemical analysis) revealed that use of progestin only contraceptive DMPA, but not combined oral contraceptive, resulted in impairment of cervicovaginal mucosal integrity, which could explain potential association between use of DMPA and increased risk of HIV acquisition.