1887

Abstract

Worldwide, bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most common vaginal disorder in women of childbearing age. BV is characterized by a dramatic shift in the vaginal microflora, involving a relative decrease in lactobacilli, and a proliferation of anaerobes. In most cases of BV, the predominant bacterial species found is . However, pure cultures of do not always result in BV, and asymptomatic women are sometimes colonized with low numbers of . Thus, there is controversy about whether is an opportunistic pathogen and the causative agent of many cases of BV, or whether BV is a polymicrobial condition caused by the collective effects of an altered microbial flora. Recent studies of the biofilm-forming potential and cytotoxic activity of have renewed interest in the virulence potential of this organism. In an effort to tease apart the aetiology of this disorder, we utilized assays to compare three virulence properties of relative to other BV-associated anaerobes. We designed a viable assay to analyse bacterial adherence to vaginal epithelial cells, we compared biofilm-producing capacities, and we assessed cytotoxic activity. Of the BV-associated anaerobes tested, only demonstrated all three virulence properties combined. This study suggests that is more virulent than other BV-associated anaerobes, and that many of the bacterial species frequently isolated from BV may be relatively avirulent opportunists that colonize the vagina after has initiated an infection.

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2010-02-01
2019-08-24
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