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Control of the Microbial Flora of the Vagina by H₂O₂-Generating Lactobacilli

S. J. Klebanoff, S. L. Hillier, D. A. Eschenbach and A. M. Waltersdorph
The Journal of Infectious Diseases
Vol. 164, No. 1 (Jul., 1991), pp. 94-100
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30112881
Page Count: 7
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Control of the Microbial Flora of the Vagina by H₂O₂-Generating Lactobacilli
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Abstract

H₂O₂-Generating lactobacilli (LB⁺) are present in the vagina of most normal women but are absent from most women with bacterial vaginosis (BV). LB⁺ at high concentration was toxic to Gardnerella vaginalis (the predominant organism in the vagina of women with BV); when the LB⁺ was lowered to a level where it was ineffective alone, the addition of myeloperoxidase and chloride reinstituted toxicity. Toxicity was inhibited by catalase and was not seen when H₂O₂-negative lactobacilli were used, implicating H₂O₂ as the toxic molecule. LB⁺ could be replaced by H₂O₂ and chloride by iodide, bromide, or thiocyanate. The optimum pH for inhibition of G. vaginalis was 5.0-6.0. LB⁺ also was autoinhibitory when combined with myeloperoxidase and chloride. LB⁺ alone at low concentrations was toxic to Bacteroides bivius through the formation of H₂O₂. Adequate amounts of peroxidase were found in the vagina of 17 of 21 women. These findings suggest that LB⁺ may contribute to the control of the vaginal flora, particularly in the presence of peroxidase and a halide.

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