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Fig. 1 | AIDS Research and Therapy

Fig. 1

From: Role of sex hormones and the vaginal microbiome in susceptibility and mucosal immunity to HIV-1 in the female genital tract

Fig. 1

The sex hormone-microbiome-immune system axis in the female genital tract (FGT). The hormonal milieu, consisting of estradiol and progesterone, regulates the vaginal microbiome and both these factors participate in cross-talk with the immune system in the FGT (blue), determining the level of innate inflammation in the genital tissue. Higher estrogen levels correlate with a vaginal microbiome dominated by Lactobacillus spp. which can decrease genital inflammation and reduce HIV-1 susceptibility (pink). Alternatively, the use of progestin-based contraceptives or the presence of BV can initiate an inflammatory cytokine microenvironment that attracts T cells and induce their activation (red). Elevated levels of CD4+ CCR5+ activated T cells in the tissue as a result of an inflammatory genital profile increases the risk of HIV-1 acquisition in women

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