• Composition of vaginal microbiota during labor and the effect of lubricant use

      McElroy, Kathleen Gresia; Regan, Mary J.; 0000-0002-6244-5529 (2016)
      Background: The composition of vaginal microbiota is critically important during pregnancy because maternal microbes transferred at birth form the basis of the neonate's microbiome. Vaginal dysbiosis, a disruption in composition, is linked with many biological and behavioral factors, including use of personal lubricants. Studies show that lubricants can alter microbial composition and damage the integrity of vaginal epithelium. These findings are concerning because similar lubricants are frequently used during labor. However, the effect of lubricant use on vaginal microbiota during labor has not been studied. Purpose: This study aimed to characterize the composition of vaginal microbiota during labor and to investigate the effect of lubricant use on its bacterial composition. Methods: The prospective cohort study was nested within a federally-funded study (R01NR014826). Fifteen participants collected mid-vaginal specimens during pregnancy, labor, and in the postpartum period, and clinical labor data were extracted from medical records. 16S rRNA gene profiling was used for bacterial composition and multiple linear regression was used to investigate the effect of intrapartum lubricant use. Results: The composition of vaginal microbiota varied among participants, with a notable high abundance of Lactobacillus iners and Gardnerella vaginalis. A significant bivariate negative correlation between lubricant use and relative abundance of L. crispatus disappeared when controlling for time since ruptured membranes. A trend between lubricant use and changes in the composition of vaginal microbiota as measured by the Jensen-Shannon distance was noted but not significant. Conclusions: The study offers novel information about the composition of vaginal microbiota during labor and the effect of lubricant use on its composition. The potential relationship between increased lubricant use and decreased L. crisptatus has important clinical significance for perinatal providers and can be used to begin to build evidence that supports a less invasive approach to perinatal practice. A larger study is needed to further elucidate the association between lubricant use and vaginal dysbiosis.
    • Lactobacillus Isolates That Stop the Growth of Shigella in Culture and Increase the Resistance of Cultured Epithelial Cells to Disruption by Shigella

      Thomas, Carrie; Stine, Oscar Colin (2015)
      Diarrheal disease is one of the leading causes of death among young children in low income regions of the world, and may be due to multiple factors, one such factor being microbial infection. Among the leading causes of microbial diarrhea is Shigella; at the moment there is no vaccine or probiotic treatment to counter the threat posed by Shigella. Our ultimate goal is to generate an effective and accessible probiotic treatment. Our group recently identified that the presence of certain Lactobacillus strains in the intestinal tract protect the human host from the effects of Shigella (p<0.02). Thus, we hypothesized that some strains of Lactobacillus from children with diarrhea in Kenya would either inhibit the growth of Shigella in culture, or increase the resistance of cultured intestinal epithelial cells to attack by Shigella. We collected six strains of Lactobacillus from children in Lwak, Kenya with diarrhea. Four produce soluble compounds that stopped the growth of Shigella in culture (p=10-136). One strain also produced a soluble compound(s) that increased the resistance of a cultured intestinal epithelial monolayer (T-84 cells) to disruption by Shigella (p=0.04). Once identified, these soluble compounds may be useful for treating or preventing Shigella infections and the Lactobacillus strains may be probiotic treatments for diarrhea caused by Shigella.