Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version

Spring 3-19-2020


Maschka, M. 2020. Neutrophil Infiltration into the Cervical Compartment is Supressed by HIV Infection. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Madeline Maschka 2020.


Human Papillomavirus (HPV), is a small circular dsDNA virus with at least 200 different genotypes; each genotype is identified by at least 10% difference at the DNA level in the L1 capsid gene. Each HPV genotype affects the body in different tissues, either mucosal or cutaneous. Mucosal HPVs type 16 and 18 are known as high-risk strains, since HPV infection is the most common cause of cervical cancer and plays a central role in formation of precancerous lesions. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) damages the body’s immune system by targeting CD4+ T cells. Once CD4+ T cells are infected, the body is unable to recruit a well-coordinated and well-regulated adaptive immune response. This thesis addresses how a patient’s HPV and HIV status effects the magnitude of neutrophil infiltration into the cervix, as measured by analysis of pap smear samples collected from women from Tanzania, Africa. The software of QuPath and IsListen were utilized to capture and analyze the average neutrophil count in the pap smear samples. It was found that neutrophil counts in HIV positive samples were significantly lower than HIV negative samples, suggesting that the presence of HIV infection suppresses cervical neutrophil recruitment. This information is important to understand how neutrophil infiltration into the cervix relates to progression of HPV-related precancerous lesions, particularly in HIV positive patients. These results could help in designing therapeutics to mitigate cervical cancer development at an early stage.