Individual immunity and susceptibility to female genital tract infection
Genital Diseases, Female
The responses to genital tract infection vary among different women to a far greater extent than has previously been appreciated. All women are not genetically identical and have not been exposed to identical environments; therefore it is naive to expect that a particular microorganism will elicit the identical response and have the identical sequelae for each infected individual. The genes inherited from one's parents, which contain specific polymorphisms in immune response genes, greatly influence the direction and magnitude of the immune response to microorganisms. Similarly, extrinsic variables, such as the type or quantity of a specific infection, whether there is a coinfection with another microorganism, such as an intracellular parasite, and whether an immediate hypersensitivity response is concurrently induced also determine the nature of the host response and thus the consequences of microbial exposure. Finally, factors such as the frequency of sexual intercourse and previous immune sensitization to spermatozoa or other components of a particular ejaculate also influence the outcome. An increased awareness of the uniqueness of each host will lead to the development of more precise individualized treatments and improvements in combating infectious diseases of the female genital tract.