The following is a summary of “Serologic Response to Human Papillomavirus Genotypes Among Unvaccinated Women: Findings From the HITCH Cohort Study,” published in the May 2023 issue of Infectious Diseases by Morais, et al.
The role of humoral immune responses in preventing, controlling, and eliminating human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is of great importance. For a study, researchers sought to analyze the humoral response to natural HPV infection in a group of unvaccinated women while considering their phylogenetic relatedness.
A total of 399 young women participating in the HITCH cohort, who were attending university/college in Montreal, Canada, were included in the study. Blood samples were collected from the participants at baseline and during five follow-up visits. Multiplex serology was used to measure the antibody response to bacterially expressed L1 and E6 glutathione S-transferase (GST) fusion proteins and virus-like particles (VLP-L1) of Alphapapillomavirus types. Pearson correlation coefficients (r) and univariable linear regressions assessed the correlations and associations between HPV types at baseline.
At baseline, more than 40% of the participants showed seropositivity for GST-L1 antibodies of at least one HPV type. Strong correlations were observed between GST-L1 antibodies for α9 HPV types, such as 58–52 (r = 0.86), 58–33 (r = 0.75), and 33–52 (r = 0.72). Similarly, strong correlations were found between GST-E6 antibodies, including 52–11 (r = 0.84), 52–18 (r = 0.79), 58–33 (r = 0.78), and 35–11 (r = 0.76). The presence of HPV16 VLP-L1 antibodies moderately explained the variability in HPV16 GST-L1 antibodies (regression coefficient [b] = 0.38, R2 = 43.1%), while HPV45 GST-L1 antibodies explained the variability in HPV18 GST-L1 antibodies (b = 0.68, R2 = 42.8%). GST-E6 antibodies accounted for a low to moderate proportion of variability in HPV16 and HPV18 GST-E6 antibodies (R2 = 6.4%–62.2%).
The phylogenetic relatedness of the HPV types influenced the associations between naturally induced HPV-specific antibodies.