Vaginal microbiota of asymptomatic bacterial vaginosis and vulvovaginal candidiasis: Are they different from normal microbiota?Microb Pathog. 2019 Sep; 134:103599.MP
Vaginal microbiota contributes in maintaining and protecting the urogenital niche from infections and their sequelae. Despite extensive research, microbiome studies have often ignored asymptomatic bacterial vaginosis (BV) and vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC). The present study aimed to explore the cultivable vaginal bacterial and mycological communities in women asymptomatic for BV and VVC using multiplex PCR and species-specific PCR. Vaginal swabs collected from 199 participants asymptomatic for urogenital infections, scored by Nugent criteria indicated 73.9% had normal microbiota, 11.6% intermediate and 14.5% BV. The most frequent Lactobacillus species in normal women were L. iners (69.4%), L. crispatus (24.5%), L. reuteri (20.4%). Women with BV colonized L. iners (62.1%); L. rhamnosus (41.4%); L. salivarius (13.7%) and L. reuteri (7.2%). Furthermore, L. crispatus was associated with normal microbiota, whereas L. iners was a frequent member of normal and dysbiotic microbiota. Lactobacillus abundance and species richness reduced in asymptomatic BV. Also L. crispatus, L. fermentum, L. acidophilus and L. delbruckii were absent in these women. L. iners significantly co-existed with other Lactobacillus species, indicating its failure in independently maintaining the healthy vaginal niche. Of 30.4% women detected with Candida, 72.1% constituted non-albicans Candida. Predominance of C. albicans increased from 18.4% in healthy to 60% in women with asymptomatic BV; whereas distribution of BV related bacteria did not vary across the groups. Heterogeneous population of lactobacilli in 80.8% of normal women calls attention towards cumulative effects of these species in safeguarding the vaginal microenvironment. Since the microbiota of asymptomatic BV was different from healthy, screening and management could be encouraged to avoid further complications of infections.