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PLoS One. 2017 Jul 11;12(7):e0181135. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0181135. eCollection 2017.

The association between ethnicity and vaginal microbiota composition in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Author information

1
Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
2
Center for Infection and Immunity Amsterdam, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
3
Public Health Laboratory, Public Health Service of Amsterdam (GGD), Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
4
Department of Medical Microbiology and Infection Control, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
5
Department of Infectious Diseases, Public Health Service of Amsterdam (GGD), Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
6
Department of Dermatology, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
7
Department of Public Health, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
8
Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
9
Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
10
Department of Clinical Infection, Microbiology and Immunology, Institute of Infection and Global Health, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate whether ethnicity is independently associated with vaginal microbiota (VMB) composition in women living in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, as has been shown for American women.

METHODS:

Women (18-34 years, non-pregnant, N = 610) representing the six largest ethnic groups (Dutch, African Surinamese, South-Asian Surinamese, Turkish, Moroccan, and Ghanaian) were sampled from the population-based HELIUS study. Sampling was performed irrespective of health status or healthcare seeking behavior. DNA was extracted from self-sampled vaginal swabs and sequenced by Illumina MiSeq (16S rRNA gene V3-V4 region).

RESULTS:

The overall prevalence of VMBs not dominated by lactobacilli was 38.5%: 32.2% had a VMB resembling bacterial vaginosis and another 6.2% had a VMB dominated by Bifidobacteriaceae (not including Gardnerella vaginalis), Corynebacterium, or pathobionts (streptococci, staphylococci, Proteus or Enterobacteriaceae). The most prevalent VMB in ethnically Dutch women was a Lactobacillus crispatus-dominated VMB, in African Surinamese and Ghanaian women a polybacterial G. vaginalis-containing VMB, and in the other ethnic groups a L. iners-dominated VMB. After adjustment for sociodemographic, behavioral and clinical factors, African Surinamese ethnicity (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 5.1, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.1-12.0) and Ghanaian ethnicity (aOR 4.8, 95% CI 1.8-12.6) were associated with having a polybacterial G. vaginalis-containing VMB, and African Surinamese ethnicity with a L. iners-dominated VMB (aOR 2.8, 95% CI 1.2-6.2). Shorter steady relationship duration, inconsistent condom use with casual partners, and not using hormonal contraception were also associated with having a polybacterial G. vaginalis-containing VMB, but human papillomavirus infection was not. Other sexually transmitted infections were uncommon.

CONCLUSIONS:

The overall prevalence of having a VMB not dominated by lactobacilli in this population-based cohort of women aged 18-34 years in Amsterdam was high (38.5%), and women of sub-Saharan African descent were significantly more likely to have a polybacterial G. vaginalis-containing VMB than Dutch women independent of modifiable behaviors.

Comment in

PMID:
28700747
PMCID:
PMC5507447
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0181135
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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