Valore1, E.V., Wiley2, D.J., and Ganz1, T. Departments of Medicine and Pathology, 1David Geffen School of Medicine, and 2School of Nursing, University of California at Los Angeles, 10833 Le Conte Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90095-1690.

This study by researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) demonstrated that MatTek’s EpiVaginal human vaginal ecto-cervical tissue equivalent containing dendritic cells can be used to examine the interactions between pathological alterations of vaginal flora and the composition and antimicrobial properties of vaginal fluid. Bacterial vaginosis is a common condition associated with increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases, including human immunodeficiency virus infections. In contrast, vulvovaginal candidiasis has a much weaker association with sexually transmitted diseases. Researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) found that vaginal lavage fluid from women with bacterial vaginosis is deficient in antimicrobial polypeptides and antimicrobial activity compared to fluid from healthy women or women with vulvovaginal candidiasis. Effective treatment normalized the concentrations of antimicrobial polypeptides in both bacterial vaginosis and in vulvovaginal candidiasis, suggesting that the abnormalities were a result of the diseases. Unlike in vulvovaginal candidiasis, the neutrophil attractant chemokine interleukin-8 (IL-8) was not increased in bacterial vaginosis, accounting for low concentrations of neutrophil-derived defensins in vaginal fluid. In organotypic cultures of human vaginal epithelium containing dendritic cells (MatTek’s EpiVaginal human tissue equivalent), treatment with Lactobacillus jensenii, a typical vaginal resident, induced the synthesis of IL-8 mRNA and the epithelial human â-defensin-2 mRNA, but a typical bacterial vaginosis pathogen, Gardnerella vaginalis, had no effect. When the two bacteria were combined, Gardnerella vaginalis did not interfere with the immunostimulatory effect of Lactobacillus jensenii. The loss of normal immunostimulatory flora in bacterial vaginosis is thus associated with a local deficiency of multiple innate immune factors, and this deficiency could predispose individuals to sexually transmitted diseases.


Antimicrobial polypeptides, BHI medium, Bacterial vaginosis, EpiVaginal, HBD-2, Human beta-defensin, IL-1, IL-1b, IL-1ra, Interleukin 8 (IL-8), MRS medium, VLC-100

Materials Tested

Gardenerella vaginalis, Lactobacillus jensenii

Request a copy of this paper, click here.