Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy

Development of a microarray-based tool to characterize vaginal bacterial fluctuations and application to a novel antibiotic treatment for bacterial vaginosis.

PMID 25733514


The healthy vaginal microbiota is generally dominated by lactobacilli that confer antimicrobial protection and play a crucial role in health. Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most prevalent lower genital tract infection in women in reproductive age and is characterized by a shift in the relative abundances of Lactobacillus spp. to a greater abundance of strictly anaerobic bacteria. In this study, we designed a new phylogenetic microarray-based tool (VaginArray) that includes 17 probe sets specific for the most representative bacterial groups of the human vaginal ecosystem. This tool was implemented using the ligase detection reaction-universal array (LDR-UA) approach. The entire probe set properly recognized the specific targets and showed an overall sensitivity of 6 to 12 ng per probe. The VaginArray was applied to assess the efficacy of rifaximin vaginal tablets for the treatment of BV, analyzing the vaginal bacterial communities of 22 BV-affected women treated with rifaximin vaginal tablets at a dosage of 25 mg/day for 5 days. Our results showed the ability of rifaximin to reduce the growth of various BV-related bacteria (Atopobium vaginae, Prevotella, Megasphaera, Mobiluncus, and Sneathia spp.), with the highest antibiotic susceptibility for A. vaginae and Sneathia spp. Moreover, we observed an increase of Lactobacillus crispatus levels in the subset of women who maintained remission after 1 month of therapy, opening new perspectives for the treatment of BV.