Biogenic Amines Increase the Odds of Bacterial Vaginosis and Affect the Growth of and Lactic Acid Production by Vaginal Lactobacillus spp.


Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most common vaginal disorder of reproductive-aged women, yet its etiology remains enigmatic. One clinical symptom of BV, malodor, is linked to the microbial production of biogenic amines (BA). Using targeted liquid chromatography mass spectrometry, we analyzed 149 longitudinally collected vaginal samples to determine the in vivo concentrations of the most common BAs and then assessed their relationship to BV and effect upon the growth kinetics of axenically cultured vaginal Lactobacillus species. Increases in cadaverine, putrescine, and tyramine were associated with greater odds of women transitioning from L. crispatus-dominated vaginal microbiota to microbiota that have a paucity of Lactobacillus spp. and from Nugent scores of 0 to 3 to Nugent scores of 7 to 10, consistent with BV. Exposure to putrescine lengthened the lag time and/or slowed the growth of all vaginal Lactobacillus spp. except L. jensenii 62G. L. iners AB107’s lag time was lengthened by cadaverine but reduced in the presence of spermidine and spermine. The growth rate of L. crispatus VPI 3199 was slowed by cadaverine and tyramine, and strain-specific responses to spermine and spermidine were observed. BAs were associated with reduced production of d- and l-lactic acid by vaginal Lactobacillus spp., and this effect was independent of their effect upon Lactobacillus species growth. The exceptions were higher levels of d- and l-lactic acid by two strains of L. crispatus when grown in the presence of spermine. Results of this study provide evidence of a direct impact of common biogenic amines on vaginal Lactobacillus spp.



growth response, backterial vaginosis, biogenic amines, lactobacilluns, vaginal microbiome


Borgogna J-LC, Shardell MD, Grace SG, Santori EK, Americus B, Li Z, Ulanov A, Forney L, Nelson TM, Brotman RM, Ravel J, Yeoman CJ. 2021. Biogenic amines increase the odds of bacterial vaginosis and affect the growth of and lactic acid production by vaginal Lactobacillus spp. Appl Environ Microbiol 87:e03068-20.
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