Characterization of the vaginal microbiota among sexual risk behavior groups of women with bacterial vaginosis

Academic Article


  • Background: The pathogenesis of bacterial vaginosis (BV) remains elusive. BV may be more common among women who have sex with women (WSW). The objective of this study was to use 454 pyrosequencing to investigate the vaginal microbiome of WSW, women who have sex with women and men (WSWM), and women who have sex with men (WSM) with BV to determine if there are differences in organism composition between groups that may inform new hypotheses regarding the pathogenesis of BV. Methods: Vaginal swab specimens from eligible women with BV at the Mississippi State Department of Health STD Clinic were used. After DNA extraction, 454 pyrosequencing of PCR-amplified 16S rRNA gene sequences was performed. Sequence data was classified using the Ribosomal Database Program classifer. Complete linkage clustering analysis was performed to compare bacterial community composition among samples. Differences in operational taxonomic units with an abundance of ≥2% between risk behavior groups were determined. Alpha and beta diversity were measured using Shannon's Index implemented in QIIME and Unifrac analysis, respectively. Results: 33 WSW, 35 WSWM, and 44 WSM were included. The vaginal bacterial communities of all women clustered into four taxonomic groups with the dominant taxonomic group in each being Lactobacillus, Lachnospiraceae, Prevotella, and Sneathia. Regarding differences in organism composition between risk behavior groups, the abundance of Atopobium (relative ratio (RR)=0.24; 95%CI 0.11-0.54) and Parvimonas (RR=0.33; 95%CI 0.11-0.93) were significantly lower in WSW than WSM, the abundance of Prevotella was significantly higher in WSW than WSWM (RR=1.77; 95%CI 1.10-2.86), and the abundance of Atopobium (RR=0.41; 95%CI 0.18-0.88) was significantly lower in WSWM than WSM. Overall, WSM had the highest diversity of bacterial taxa. Conclusion: The microbiology of BV among women in different risk behavior groups is heterogeneous. WSM in this study had the highest diversity of bacterial taxa. Additional studies are needed to better understand these differences. © 2013 Muzny et al.
  • Published In

  • PLoS One  Journal
  • Keywords

  • bacterial RNA RNA 16S adult article Atopobium bacterium identification cluster analysis DNA extraction female gene sequence high risk behavior human infection risk Lachnospiraceae linkage analysis major clinical study microbial community microbial diversity nonhuman Parvimonas pathogenesis pelvic examination polymerase chain reaction population abundance Prevotella pyrosequencing RNA gene sexual behavior sexual minority species composition vagina flora vaginitis women who have sex with men and women women who have sex with women Bacteria Cross-Sectional Studies Humans Male Metagenome Microbiota Mississippi Phylogeny Risk-Taking RNA, Ribosomal, 16S Vagina Vaginosis, Bacterial Young Adult
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Muzny CA; Sunesara IR; Kumar R; Mena LA; Griswold ME; Martin DH; Lefkowitz EJ; Schwebke JR
  • Volume

  • 8
  • Issue

  • 11