Contraceptives such as Depo-medroxyprogesterone (DMPA) are used by an estimated 34 million women worldwide. DMPA has been associated with increased risk of several viral infections including Herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2) and Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In the current study, we used the mouse papillomavirus (MmuPV1) anogenital infection model to test two hypotheses: (1) contraceptives such as DMPA increase the susceptibility of the anogenital tract to viral infection and (2) long-term contraceptive administration induces more advanced disease at the anogenital tract. DMPA treatments of both athymic nude mice and heterozygous NU/J (Foxn1nu/+) but ovariectomized mice led to a significantly increased viral load at the anogenital tract, suggesting that endogenous sex hormones were involved in increased viral susceptibility by DMPA treatment. Consistent with previous reports, DMPA treatment suppressed host anti-viral activities at the lower genital tract. To test the impact of long-term contraceptive treatment on the MmuPV1-infected lower genital tract, we included two other treatments in addition to DMPA: 17β-estradiol and a non-hormone based contraceptive Cilostazol (CLZ, Pletal). Viral infections were monitored monthly up to nine months post infection by qPCR. The infected vaginal and anal tissues were harvested and further examined by histological, virological, and immunological analyses. Surprisingly, we did not detect a significantly higher grade of histology in animals in the long-term DMPA and 17β-estradiol treated groups when compared to the control groups in the athymic mice we tested. Therefore, although DMPA promotes initial papillomavirus infections in the lower genital tract, the chronic administration of DMPA does not promote cancer development in the infected tissues in our mouse model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number980
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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