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Br J Biomed Sci. 2002;59(4):183-90.

Vaginal lactobacilli: self- and co-aggregating ability.

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  • 1CERELA (Centro de Referencia para Lactobacilos)-CONICET, Chacabuco 145, 4000 Tucumán, Argentina.


Lactic acid bacteria are the dominant bacteria of the vaginal tract in healthy women. Lactobacillus species form a barrier population that protects from pathogen colonisation by mechanisms that include adhesion to epithelial surfaces, self-aggregation and co-aggregation. In this study, factors involved in the self-aggregating ability of vaginal lactobacilli and in the co-aggregation of these microorganisms with Candida spp. are studied. Both self-aggregation and co-aggregation are monitored quantitatively by the decrease in the absorbance of suspensions of the microorganisms and qualitatively by light microscopy. The self-aggregating ability of four vaginal lactobacilli was shown to be caused by a peptide or protein sensitive to trypsin. However, in self-aggregating Lactobacillus acidophilus CRL 1294 the factor was resistant to trypsin and sensitive to pepsin. Among self-aggregating lactobacilli, L. acidophilus CRL 1294 and L. salivarius CRL 1328 were able to co-aggregate with Candida spp. The co-aggregating factor for both strains proved to be peptide of the surface and a peptide on the bacterial surface, while the receptor on the yeast was a carbohydrate. Co-aggregation of both lactobacilli and Candida spp. was inhibited by the addition of mannose but was not affected by other carbohydrates. Self and co-aggregation factors were not able to induce aggregation in non-aggregating lactobacilli.

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