, Volume 90, Issue 3, pp 201-210
Date: 27 Jul 2006

Molecular identification of vaginal lactobacilli isolated from Bulgarian women

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Lactobacilli play an important role in maintaining the vaginal health of women. The development of suitable bacterial replacement therapies for the treatment of vaginosis requires knowledge of the vaginal lactobacilli species representation. The aim of this study was to identify at the species level vaginal Lactobacillus isolates obtained from Bulgarian women in childbearing age by using different molecular methods. Twenty-two strains of lactobacilli isolated from vaginal samples were identified and grouped according to their genetic relatedness. A combined approach, which included amplified ribosomal DNA restriction analysis (ARDRA), ribotyping and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with species-specific oligonucleotide primers was applied. All vaginal isolates were grouped into 5 clusters in␣comparison with a set of 21 reference strains based␣on the initial ARDRA results, which was then confirmed by ribotyping. Finally, the strains were subjected to PCR analysis with eight different species-specific primer pairs, which allowed most of␣them to be classified as belonging to one of␣the␣following species: Lactobacillus crispatus, Lactobacillus fermentum, Lactobacillus gasseri, Lactobacillus helveticus and Lactobacillus plantarum. In conclusion, this study suggests that the most straightforward identification strategy for vaginal lactobacilli would be grouping by ARDRA or ribotyping, followed by PCR specific primers identification at species level.