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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2015, Article ID 379501, 8 pages
Research Article

Effect of Oral and Vaginal Hormonal Contraceptives on Inflammatory Blood Biomarkers

1Department of Neurology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
2Division of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
3Division of Hematology, Oncology, and Transplantation, Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
4Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL 60611, USA
5Blood and Marrow Transplantation Division, Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA

Received 17 December 2014; Accepted 16 February 2015

Academic Editor: Amedeo Amedei

Copyright © 2015 Afshin A. Divani 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 use of combined hormonal contraceptives has been reported to increase the level of C-reactive protein (CRP). We assessed the effect of hormonal contraceptive use on inflammatory cytokines including CRP, monocyte chemotactic protein-1, soluble tumor necrosis factor (sTNF), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and soluble CD40 ligand. We used 79 female subjects (19 to 30 years old) who were combined oral contraceptives users (), combined vaginal contraceptive users (), and nonusers () with CRP values of ≤1 () or ≥3 (). Information on medical history, physical activities, and dietary and sleeping habits were collected. Both oral and vaginal contraceptive users had higher levels of CRP (), compared to nonusers. Only oral contraceptive users exhibited elevated sCD40L (). When comparing the groups with CRP ≤ 1 and CRP ≥ 3, levels of IL-6 and sTNF-RI were positively correlated with CRP among oral contraceptive users. We did not observe the same elevation for other inflammatory biomarkers for the CRP ≥ 3 group among vaginal contraceptive users. The clear cause of elevation in CRP level due to the use of different hormonal contraceptive formulations and methods is not well understood. Longitudinal studies with larger sample size are required to better assess the true cause of CRP elevation among hormonal contraceptive users.