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Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Volume 2008 (2008), Article ID 820845, 4 pages
Research Article

Effect of Semen on Vaginal Fluid Cytokines and Secretory Leukocyte Protease Inhibitor

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington, 1959 NE Pacific Street, Box 356460, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 1100 Fairview Avenue North, P.O. Box 19024, Seattle, WA 98109-1024, USA
3Drexel College of Medicine, Drexel University, OB/GYN Control, 245 N 15th Street Philadelphia, PA 19102, USA

Received 13 March 2008; Accepted 13 May 2008

Academic Editor: Jane Schwebke

Copyright © 2008 Kathy J. Agnew et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The presence of semen in vaginal fluid, as identified by an acid phosphatase spot test, does not influence vaginal proinflammatory cytokine concentrations. Objective: determine whether semen, as detected by acid phosphatase, influences vaginal cytokines or secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor concentrations. Methods: 138 pregnant women had vaginal fluid collected for Gram stain, acid phosphatase detection by colorimetric assay, and interleukin 1-Beta, interleukin-6, interleukin-8, and secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor measurement by enzyme immunoassay. Results for women with and without acid phosphatase were compared by Mann-Whitney test. Results: of 138 subjects, 28 (20%) had acid phosphatase detected; of these, only 19 (68%) reported recent intercourse and 3 (11%) had sperm seen on Gram stain. There were no significant differences in proinflammatory cytokine concentrations; however, secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor concentrations were significantly higher among women with acid phosphatase. Conclusions: proinflammatory cytokine measurement does not appear to be affected by the presence of semen, but secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor is significantly higher when semen is present. Detection of semen by acid phosphatase was associated with higher vaginal SLPI concentrations, however, the presence of semen did not appear to influence vaginal proinflammatory cytokine concentrations.