Article

Bacterial Vaginosis Assessed by Gram Stain and Diminished Colonization Resistance to Incident Gonococcal, Chlamydial, and Trichomonal Genital Infection

Institute for Genome Sciences and Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases (Impact Factor: 6). 11/2010; 202(12):1907-15. DOI: 10.1086/657320
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

We sought to assess the relationship between bacterial vaginosis (BV) assessed by Gram stain and incident trichomonal, gonococcal, and/or chlamydial genital infection.
This longitudinal study included 3620 nonpregnant women aged 15-44 years who presented for routine care at 12 clinics in Birmingham, Alabama. Participants were assessed quarterly for 1 year. Vaginal smears were categorized by the Nugent Gram stain score (0-3, normal; 4-6, intermediate state; 7-10, BV). Pooled logistic regression was used to estimate the hazard ratios for the comparison of trichomonal, gonococcal, and chlamydial infection incidence in participants by Nugent score at the prior visit. Participants were censored at their first visit with a positive test result for trichomonal, gonococcal, and/or chlamydial infection.
Of the 10,606 eligible visits, 37.96% were classified by BV and 13.3% by positive detection of trichomonal, gonococcal, and/or chlamydial infection. An intermediate state or BV at the prior visit was associated with a 1.5-2-fold increased risk for incident trichomonal, gonococcal, and/or chlamydial infection (adjusted hazard ratio [AHR] for intermediate state, 1.41 [95% confidence interval {CI}, 1.12-1.76]; AHR for BV, 1.73 [95% CI, 1.42-2.11]; P= .058 for trend). Estimates were similar for trichomonal-only, gonococcal-only, and chlamydial-only infection outcomes.
BV microbiota as gauged by Gram stain is associated with a significantly elevated risk for acquisition of trichomonal, gonococcal, and/or chlamydial genital infection.

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    • "Despite the most recent discoveries related to the etiology of BV, current treatment is still directed toward alleviation of symptoms through reduction of BV-associated bacteria overgrowth and restoration of normal vaginal flora (Pirotta et al., 2009). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all symptomatic women should be treated, since it recognizes several benefits of therapy, including the relief of the symptoms and signs of infection (Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention, 2015) and the reduction in the risk of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases (Brotman et al., 2010). Conventionally, BV is treated with metronidazole, clindamycin or tinidazole (Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention, 2015). "
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    ABSTRACT: Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most common genital tract infection in women during their reproductive years and it has been associated with serious health complications, such as preterm delivery and acquisition or transmission of several sexually transmitted agents. BV is characterized by a reduction of beneficial lactobacilli and a significant increase in number of anaerobic bacteria, including Gardnerella vaginalis, Atopobium vaginae, Mobiluncus spp., Bacteroides spp. and Prevotella spp.. Being polymicrobial in nature, BV aetiology remains unclear. However, it is certain that BV involves the presence of a thick vaginal multi-species biofilm, where G. vaginalis is the predominant species. Similar to what happens in many other biofilm-related infections, standard antibiotics, like metronidazole, are unable to fully eradicate the vaginal biofilm, which can explain the high recurrence rates of BV. Furthermore, antibiotic therapy can also cause a negative impact on the healthy vaginal microflora. These issues sparked the interest in developing alternative therapeutic strategies. This review provides a quick synopsis of the currently approved and available antibiotics for BV treatment while presenting an overview of novel strategies that are being explored for the treatment of this disorder, with special focus on natural compounds that are able to overcome biofilm-associated antibiotic resistance.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · Frontiers in Microbiology
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    • "Bacterial vaginosis and high Nugent scores have been associated with increased risks of chlamydial STIs [20], [24], [25]. However, to the best of our knowledge, there have been no experimental documentation on if and how vaginal microbiome influences chlamydial pathogenicity. "
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    ABSTRACT: Lactobacillus species dominate the microbiome in the lower genital tract of most reproductive-age women. Producing lactic acid and H2O2, lactobacilli are believed to play an important role in prevention of colonization by and growth of pathogens. However, to date, there have been no reported studies characterizing how lactobacilli interact with Chlamydia trachomatis, a leading sexually transmitted bacterium. In this report, we demonstrate inactivation of C. trachomatis infectivity by culture media conditioned by Lactobacillus crispatus, L. gasseri and L. jensenii, known to be dominating organisms in the human vaginal microbiome. Lactobacillus still cultures produced lactic acid, leading to time- and concentration-dependent killing of C. trachomatis. Neutralization of the acidic media completely reversed chlamydia killing. Addition of lactic acid into Lactobacillus-unconditioned growth medium recapitulated the chlamydiacidal activity of conditioned media. The H2O2 concentrations in the still cultures were found to be comparable to those reported for the cervicovaginal fluid, but insufficient to inactivate chlamydiae. Aeration of Lactobacillus cultures by shaking markedly induced H2O2 production, but strongly inhibited Lactobacillus growth and lactic acid production, and thus severely affected acidification, leading to significantly reduced chlamydiacidal efficiency. These observations indicate lactobacilli inactivate chlamydiae primarily through maintaining acidity in a relatively hypoxic environment in the vaginal lumen with limited H2O2, which is consistent with the notion that women with higher vaginal pH are more prone to sexually transmitted C. trachomatis infection. In addition to lactic acid, formic acid and acetic acid also exhibited potent chlamydiacidal activities. Taken together, our findings imply that lowering the vaginal pH through engineering of the vaginal microbiome and other means will make women less susceptible to C. trachomatis infection.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    • "BV is a common clinical syndrome in which the protective lactic acid-producing bacteria, mainly species of the Lactobacillus genus, are in low relative abundance and are supplanted by a diverse array of anaerobic bacteria [14]. BV sufferers frequently report morbidity, including vaginal odor and irritation, [15] emotional, sexual, and social impacts, [16] and are at higher risk for sexually transmitted infections upon exposure [17]. Conventional therapy consists of nitoimidazoles or clindamycin administered orally or topically [15]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Smoking has been identified in observational studies as a risk factor for bacterial vaginosis (BV), a condition defined in part by decimation of Lactobacillus spp. The anti-estrogenic effect of smoking and trace amounts of benzo[a]pyrene diol epoxide (BPDE) may predispose women to BV. BPDE increases bacteriophage induction in Lactobacillus spp. and is found in the vaginal secretions of smokers. We compared the vaginal microbiota between smokers and non-smokers and followed microbiota changes in a smoking cessation pilot study. Methods In 2010–2011, 20 smokers and 20 non-smokers were recruited to a cross-sectional study (Phase A) and 9 smokers were enrolled and followed for a 12-week smoking cessation program (Phase B). Phase B included weekly behavioral counseling and nicotine patches to encourage smoking cessation. In both phases, participants self-collected mid-vaginal swabs (daily, Phase B) and completed behavioral surveys. Vaginal bacterial composition was characterized by pyrosequencing of barcoded 16S rRNA genes (V1-V3 regions). Vaginal smears were assigned Nugent Gram stain scores. Smoking status was evaluated (weekly, Phase B) using the semi-quantitative NicAlert® saliva cotinine test and carbon monoxide (CO) exhalation. Results In phase A, there was a significant trend for increasing saliva cotinine and CO exhalation with elevated Nugent scores (P value <0.005). Vaginal microbiota clustered into three community state types (CSTs); two dominated by Lactobacillus (L. iners, L. crispatus), and one lacking significant numbers of Lactobacillus spp. and characterized by anaerobes (termed CST-IV). Women who were observed in the low-Lactobacillus CST-IV state were 25-fold more likely to be smokers than those dominated by L. crispatus (aOR: 25.61, 95 % CI: 1.03-636.61). Four women completed Phase B. One of three who entered smoking cessation with high Nugent scores demonstrated a switch from CST-IV to a L.iners-dominated profile with a concomitant drop in Nugent scores which coincided with completion of nicotine patches. The other two women fluctuated between CST-IV and L. iners-dominated CSTs. The fourth woman had low Nugent scores with L. crispatus-dominated CSTs throughout. Conclusion Smokers had a lower proportion of vaginal Lactobacillus spp. compared to non-smokers. Smoking cessation should be investigated as an adjunct to reducing recurrent BV. Larger studies are needed to confirm these findings.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · BMC Infectious Diseases
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