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Kolben, T.; Pieper, K.; Göß, C.; Degenhardt, T.; Ditsch, N.; Weissenbacher, T.; Weissenbacher, E. R.; Kolben, T. M. (2017): IL-23, IFN-alpha, and IFN-beta in the vaginal fluid of patients suffering from vulvovaginal candidosis. In: Clinical and Experimental Obstetrics & Gynecology, Vol. 44, No. 1: pp. 7-10
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Purpose of the investigation: Vulvovaginal candidosis (VVC) is a common vaginal infection affecting almost 75% of all women once per lifetime. Vaginal associated immunity is important in the protection against VVC. The purpose of this study was to evaluate a potential role of IL-23, IFN-alpha, and IFN-beta in the local immune response against VVC. Materials and Methods: The study included 202 non-pregnant women;71 patients with clinical symptoms of VVC and 131 asymptomatic patients served as control. IL-23, IFN-alpha, and IFN-beta were measured in the vaginal fluid by ELISA. Microbiological cultures were used for Candida detection. Results: C. albicans was detected in 67.6% of patients, C. glabrata in 21.1% of patients, and 5.6% were infected with C. krusei or coinfected with C. albicans and C. krusei. Levels of IL-23 (p < 0.001) and IFN-beta (p < 0.017) were significantly lower in the VVC group. IFN-alpha was elevated in the VVC group compared to the asymptomatic patients (p < 0.001). Conclusion: IL-23 and IFN-beta seem to play a protective role against VVC. Decreased levels in VVC patients suggest a compromised local immune response at the time of occurrence of symptoms. In contrast, IFN-alpha seems to be released once the infection has occurred. These cytokines may be prospective targets in the treatment and prevention of primary and recurrent vaginal infections with Candida species.