2020 Volume 73 Issue 3 Pages 214-220
As one of the main antimicrobial peptides, human β-defensin 2 (HBD2) plays multiple roles in the lower genital tract. Based on the Nugent score as a diagnostic criterion for bacterial vaginosis, we sought to clarify the correlations among the Nugent score and interleukin-6 (IL-6) and HBD2 levels in vaginal secretions in association with various types of infection. Ninety-eight women were recruited for this study. Levels of HBD2 and IL-6 in vaginal wash were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. According to the Nugent method, the number of Lactobacillus morphotypes per field of view was well correlated with the HBD2 level. The amount of HBD2 was also well correlated with the presence of Candida spp. (P < 0.01). In vitro experiments revealed that the expression of HBD2 from the human vaginal epithelial cell line, VK2/E6E7, was induced by the addition of heat-killed C. albicans (HKCA). The addition of HKCA induced expression of Dectin-1 mRNA. A luciferase assay for nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NFκB) responsive elements showed that HKCA activated NF-κB signaling. These results suggested that C. albicans induced the activation of Dectin-1 and (NF-κB) signaling, resulting in HBD2 expression. In conclusion, the expression of HBD2 positively correlated with the presence of Lactobacillus and Candida spp.