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Sci Rep. 2018 Jul 23;8(1):11109. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-29320-x.

Endocervical and vaginal microbiota in South African adolescents with asymptomatic Chlamydia trachomatis infection.

Author information

1
Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine & Division of Immunology, Department of Pathology, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.
2
Computational Biology Division, Department of Integrative Biomedical Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.
3
Institute of Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine & Division of Medical Virology, Department of Pathology, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.
4
Desmond Tutu HIV Centre, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.
5
Seattle Children's Research Institute, Seattle, WA, USA.
6
National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Sandringham, Johannesburg, South Africa.
7
Center for HIV and STIs, National Institute for Communicable Disease, National Health Laboratory Service, Johannesburg, South Africa.
8
SAMRC-UCT Clinical Gynaecological Cancer Research Centre, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.
9
Western Sydney Sexual Health Centre, Parramatta, Australia.
10
Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity & Sydney Medical School-Westmead, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.
11
DST-NRF CAPRISA Centre of Excellence in HIV Prevention, Durban, South Africa.
12
National Health Laboratory Service Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.
13
Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine & Division of Immunology, Department of Pathology, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa. hbjaspan@gmail.com.
14
Seattle Children's Research Institute, Seattle, WA, USA. hbjaspan@gmail.com.
15
University of Washington Department of Pediatrics and Global Health, Seattle, WA, USA. hbjaspan@gmail.com.

Abstract

Adolescent girls and young women represent a key risk group for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The vaginal microbiota is thought to play an important role in susceptibility to STIs such as Chlamydia trachomatis. We compared the microbiota of the lateral vaginal wall and endocervix, and assessed associations with C. trachomatis infection in South African adolescents. The endocervical and vaginal lateral wall microbiota were characterized by amplifying and sequencing the V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene and C. trachomatis diagnosed using molecular methods. Of the 72 girls included, 30 had asymptomatic C. trachomatis infections. Three major vaginal community types were identified; one Lactobacillus crispatus, one L. iners and one diverse, Gardnerella vaginalis dominant. The microbiota of the endocervix was significantly different from that of the lateral wall in terms of diversity. There were many differentially abundant taxa between the endocervix and lateral vaginal wall, including Achromobacter spanius and Enterococcus faecium. Women with C. trachomatis had higher relative abundance of G. vaginalis and other anaerobes. In this African adolescent cohort, significant differences between the lateral vaginal wall and endocervical microbiota diversity and composition were evident, although neither were strongly associated with C. trachomatis infection.

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