Researchers Discover Human Foreskin May Have a Key Role in Passing on HIV Infection

Newswise -- Human foreskin may have a key role in helping to pass on HIV infection, suggests research in the Journal of Clinical Pathology. Previous research suggests that circumcision may protect against the transmission of some viral infections.

Researchers examined tissue samples from nine specimens of human foreskin. In the skin of each sample, they found cells expressing the protein DC-SIGN, in addition to the necessary receptors for HIV to gain entry to those cells. Receptors are structures on or inside cells that selectively receive and bind a specific substance. This is important because DC-SIGN makes it easier for HIV to bind its receptors on cells much more easily, and so gain entry to them more readily.

The researchers speculate that the presence of DC-SIGN in human foreskin may therefore help the virus to be passed on more easily.

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Source: British Medical Journal