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Sci Rep. 2017 Aug 29;7(1):9802. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-09844-4.

Comparison of vaginal microbiota sampling techniques: cytobrush versus swab.

Author information

1
Institute of Reproductive and Developmental Biology, Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London, London, W12 0NN, UK.
2
Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology - West London Gynaecological Cancer Centre, Imperial College NHS Trust, London, W2 1NY, UK.
3
Department of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, CF10 3AX, UK.
4
Centre for Digestive and Gut Health, Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London, London, W2 1NY, UK.
5
Institute of Reproductive and Developmental Biology, Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London, London, W12 0NN, UK. m.kyrgiou@imperial.ac.uk.
6
Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology - West London Gynaecological Cancer Centre, Imperial College NHS Trust, London, W2 1NY, UK. m.kyrgiou@imperial.ac.uk.

Abstract

Evidence suggests the vaginal microbiota (VM) may influence risk of persistent Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection and cervical carcinogenesis. Established cytology biobanks, typically collected with a cytobrush, constitute a unique resource to study such associations longitudinally. It is plausible that compared to rayon swabs; the most commonly used sampling devices, cytobrushes may disrupt biofilms leading to variation in VM composition. Cervico-vaginal samples were collected with cytobrush and rayon swabs from 30 women with high-grade cervical precancer. Quantitative PCR was used to compare bacterial load and Illumina MiSeq sequencing of the V1-V3 regions of the 16S rRNA gene used to compare VM composition. Cytobrushes collected a higher total bacterial load. Relative abundance of bacterial species was highly comparable between sampling devices (R2 = 0.993). However, in women with a Lactobacillus-depleted, high-diversity VM, significantly less correlation in relative species abundance was observed between devices when compared to those with a Lactobacillus species-dominant VM (p = 0.0049). Cytobrush and swab sampling provide a comparable VM composition. In a small proportion of cases the cytobrush was able to detect underlying high-diversity community structure, not realized with swab sampling. This study highlights the need to consider sampling devices as potential confounders when comparing multiple studies and datasets.

PMID:
28852043
PMCID:
PMC5575119
DOI:
10.1038/s41598-017-09844-4
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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