Cervico-Vaginal Inflammation after Contraceptive Device Insertion

In a prospective study of twenty sexually transmitted infection (STI)-free women, we examined the impact of an intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD) insertion on cervico-vaginal cytokine levels. Nine women chose the levonorgestrel-containing IUCD and eight chose a copper IUCD. A cervico-vaginal swab was collected for cytokine analysis pre-insertion and four weeks post-insertion. Significant increases were noted in levels of IL-1α (median 483.4 versus 316.6 pg/mL, p = 0.046), IL-1β (median 605.7 versus 147.3 pg/mL, p = 0.018), IL-6 (median 570.1 versus 157.3 pg/mL, p = 0.046), TNFα (median 1.19 versus 0.6 pg/mL, p = 0.029) and the chemokine MCP-1 (median 340.2 versus 135.2 pg/mL, p = 0.003). No significant changes were noted in the levels of GM-CSF, IL-8, MIG, MIP-3α, RANTES, IL-10, IL-17, IP-10, MIP-1β. Whether this increase in pro-inflammatory cytokine levels decreases epithelial barrier integrity and enhances susceptibility to STIs, including HIV, merits further study.