Lactobacillus iners and the normal vaginal flora
The ecological niche of the vagina contains a large number of different microbes that are constantly interacting with each other and the host. Culture methods have not been sufficient in order to resolve the complexity of the normal vaginal flora. Further, the methods for delineating normal flora from not normal flora are not easily handled and are traditionally not based on culture but on microscopy of elements of the vaginal fluid. In the work presented in this thesis, an international collaboration was established that pin-pointed some of the difficulties in classifying vaginal floras, including staining, sampling, and discordance when lactobacilli are few in number, and that emphasized the importance of the size of the vision field in microscopes. As lactobacilli are prominent members of the normal vaginal flora they need to be carefully classified if further work towards more robust scoring tools is to be achieved.Phenotypic methods have not been able to separate the closely related Lactobacillus species of the vagina. Progress in molecular biology has provided possibilities to characterize these lactobacilli, which are mainly from the Lactobacillus acidophilus group. In this work a large number of strains collected by true random sampling were subjected to RAPD-PCR, TTGE and multiplex PCR for species identification. The major species found were L. crispatus, L. gasseri and L. jensenii and the recently described L. iners. The presence of L. iners has not been detected in previous studies due to its special nutrient requirements. Development of pyrosequencing technology also made it possible to match signatures of the two variable regions V1 and V3 of the 16S rRNA gene of the vaginal lactobacilli and identify them to the species level in a high throughput manner. The study confirmed that the dominating flora in women with normal vaginal flora comprises the four species mentioned previously. Repetitive sampling during IVF-treatment with highly varying oestrogen levels demonstrates changes that possibly occur during changes in the natural life cycle. Furthermore, L. iners was found to be the first species to be established after spontaneously resolved or treated Bacterial Vaginosis.These findings can be of help in developing new strategies for regaining and retaining the normal vaginal flora.
Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation
Keywords:MEDICINE; Microbiology, immunology, infectious diseases; Microbiology; Clinical bacteriology; Vagina; microbes; lactobacilli; phenotypic methods; molecular biology; 16S rRNA; pyrosequencing
Date of Publication:01/01/2008