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A placebo controlled observer blind immunocytochemical and histologic study of epithelium adjacent to anogenital warts in patients treated with systemic interferon alpha in combination with cryotherapy or cryotherapy alone.

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  • Research Article
Disciplines
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Medicine

Abstract

OBJECTIVE--To examine biopsy specimens of tissue immediately adjacent to anogenital (AG) warts which had been treated with either cryotherapy plus subcutaneous interferon (IFN) alpha 2a or cryotherapy alone, for histological features of (a) human papilloma virus (HPV) infection (b) localised cellular immune responses, to further characterise any cellular immune infiltrates with tissue immunocytochemistry, and to relate any histological, immunocytochemical findings to the treatment response of nearby AG warts. DESIGN--A randomised placebo controlled observer blind study. SETTING--Genitourinary Medicine clinic, Department of Immunopathology, Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, N. Ireland. SUBJECTS--Thirty patients with AG warts; 16 treated with IFN alpha 2a plus cryotherapy, and 14 treated with cryotherapy alone. OUTCOME MEASURES--(1) Light microscopic features associated with HPV infection and local cellular immune responses. (2) Indirect immunofluorescence detection of the following cell surface markers: HLA DR, alpha one antitrypsin, CD1, CD3, CD4, CD8, CD22. (3) Clinical response of AG warts to treatment. RESULTS--In pre-treatment biopsies only non specific indicators of HPV infection (acanthosis, 29/30 biopsies, and hyperkeratosis, 7/30 biopsies) were seen on light microscopy. Mononuclear cells were seen both throughout the upper dermis and centred around dermal blood vessels in 19/30 (63.3%) biopsies, and infiltrating into the epidermis in 12/30 (40%) biopsies. On indirect immunofluorescence CD3, CD8, CD4 antigen was detected on the surface of cells throughout the upper dermis in 24/29 (82.7%), 15/29 (51.7%), and 3/29 (10.3%), of biopsy specimens respectively. CD3 antigen, CD8 antigen and CD4 antigen was detected on the surface of cells infiltrating into the epidermis in 18/29 (62%), 7/29 (24.1%), and 6/29 (20.7%) of biopsy specimens respectively. CD1 antigen was seen on the surface of dendritic cells throughout the epidermis in all specimens; CD1 positive cells infiltrated into the upper dermis in 5/29 (17.2%). HLA DR was detected on the surface of dendritic cells throughout the epidermis in 22/29 (75.9%) of specimens, and on the surface of cells scattered both diffusely throughout the upper dermis and centred around dermal blood vessels in all specimens. Alpha one antitrypsin (A1AT) antigen was seen on the surface of cells in the upper dermis in 6/29 (20.7%) of biopsy specimens; no cells expressing CD22 surface antigen were seen. The nature of this local cellular immune response was not altered by treatment of nearby warts with either cryotherapy alone or cryotherapy plus systemic IFN alpha 2a, or related to the therapeutic outcome of these warts. CONCLUSIONS--(1) No convincing histological evidence of HPV infection was seen in epithelium surrounding AG warts. (2) A predominantly T cell-mediated immune response (the target of which is uncertain) was seen in this perilesional epithelium. (3) In the dosage regimens used in this study, treatment of AG warts with either systemic IFN alpha 2a plus cryotherapy or cryotherapy alone did not appear to augment localised cellular immune responses (against any presumed subclinical HPV infection) in epithelium surrounding AG warts. Images

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