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Normal vaginal microflora members preferentially adhere to and are internalized by human vaginal and ectocervical epithelial cells

, : Normal vaginal microflora members preferentially adhere to and are internalized by human vaginal and ectocervical epithelial cells. Abstracts of the General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology 102: 72

The resident bacteria of the human vagina are considered to be a biologic barrier to infection and disease. When this barrier is disrupted the health of the host can be at risk. In bacterial vaginosis (BV), a disease associated with PID and preterm delivery, there is a shift in the normal vaginal microflora from one dominated by Lactobacillus to one with increased concentrations of anaerobic Gram negative or variable rods (Prevotella and Gardnerella vaginalis) and decreased concentrations of Lacto. The role of host-microbe interactions in the pathogenesis of BV remains unclear. We investigated the association of mixed cultures of normal vaginal bacteria with normal vaginal and ectocervical epithelial cell lines. Using continuous culture techniques to prepare the mixed culture of bacteria (MVF), confluent cell monolayers (1X10-5 cells/well) were co-cultured with the MVF (Lactobacillus, Staphylococcus, Enterococcus, Prevotella, and Corynebacterium) under anaerobic conditions. Adherent and internalized bacteria were quantitated at 1h and 4h using standard methods. For both adherence and internalization studies, there was no significant difference between the two cell lines. All MVF adhered, but to varying degrees dependent on the individual organism's multiplicity of infection (MOI). Adherence increased over time for all bacteria, ranging from 0.3 log10CFU/well (Entero.) to 2.5 log10CFU/well (Prev.). Not all species were internalized. Coryne. was not internalized while the other MVF were internalized at different rates. Entero. was consistently internalized at the highest rate (0.4 to 1.3 log10CFU/well). Staph. had the lowest internalization rate - from no internalization to 0.5 log10CFU/well. Lacto. was not internalized at a high rate even though it had a high MOI and adherence rate. Prev. had lower adherence rates than Lacto. and Entero., but was internalized at a rate comparable to Entero. These data demonstrate differentiation between the species during internalization, most notably Prev. The mechanisms involved in internalization and the response of the epithelial cells to these interactions are under investigation.


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