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J Clin Microbiol. 1991 Aug;29(8):1702-10.

Genetic dissimilarity of commensal strains of Candida spp. carried in different anatomical locations of the same healthy women.

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Department of Biology, University of Iowa, Iowa City 52242.


Candida spp. carriage and strain relatedness were assessed in 52 healthy women at 17 anatomical locations by using an isolation procedure which assesses carriage intensity and by using a computer-assisted DNA fingerprinting system which computes genetic similarity between strains on the basis of the patterns of Southern blots probed with the moderately repetitive sequence Ca3. Candida spp. were cultured from 73% of the test individuals, most frequently from the oral (56%), vulvovaginal (40%), and anorectal (24%) regions. Half of the test individuals with Candida spp. carried the organism simultaneously in more than one of the three general areas of carriage. Isolates from different body locations of the same individual were either completely unrelated, identical, or highly similar but nonidentical. In 11 cases in which Candida spp. were simultaneously isolated from the oral cavity and vaginal canal, seven pairs of isolates were genetically unrelated and four pairs were similar but nonidentical. In the latter cases, the isolate pairs each appear to have arisen by genetic divergence from a single progenitor. A comparison of the genetic relatedness of isolates from different individuals further uncovered a single strain which was vaginospecific in the Iowa City, Iowa area and reduced genetic diversity among vulvovaginal strains compared with those isolated from other body locations. These results suggest that strains adapt to different anatomical locations and, conversely, that in a healthy individual there is anatomical selection of vaginotropic, anotropic and orotropic strains of Candida spp.

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