(HealthDay News) – Organisms found in the natural microbiota of the vagina, particularly lactobacilli, may influence the virulence of the pathogen that causes trichomoniasis, according to research published online May 29 in Sexually Transmitted Infections.

Niha Phukan, of the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and colleagues studied the role of lactobacilli in the adhesion of the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis (T. vaginalis) to host cells. Adhesion assays were performed on vaginal epithelial cells (VECs) that had been incubated with T. vaginalis and either lactobacilli or a non-lactobacilli control.

The researchers found that most strains of lactobacilli caused variable inhibition of the adhesion of T. vaginalis to VECs. Certain strains of lactobacilli inhibited or enhanced adhesion of the parasite in a dose-dependent manner. The effects of lactobacilli on adhesion of T. vaginalis appeared to be contact-dependent and probably were not influenced by surface lipoglycans of the parasite.

“This study reinforces the important role that our microbiomes play in health, infection and disease,” the authors write. “Understanding the role that Lactobacillus plays in T. vaginalis infection/disease might reveal new therapeutic approaches which include taking advantage of the natural probiotic activity of lactobacilli.”

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