• 16S rRNA;
  • bacteria;
  • Lactobacillus;
  • vagina


Aim:  The normal microbiota plays an important role in maintaining the vaginal health of women. The aim of this study was to characterize the numerically dominant populations of vaginal microbial communities in Chinese women.

Methods:  Genomic DNA was isolated from samples of vaginal swabs of five healthy women, 16S ribosomal ribonucleic acid libraries were constructed and the sequences of 300 clones from each library were determined and subjected to phylogenetic analyses. The phylotypes were classified based on sequence similarity to known organisms.

Results:  All vaginal microbial communities were dominated by the Lactobacillus species, and they constituted from 96.4% to 100% of the clones sequenced. Sequences homologous to L. crispatus and L. iners were most common, which were highly homologous with those of Caucasian women in the USA.

Conclusions:  The numerically dominant microbial populations in healthy Chinese women's vaginas were L. crispatus and L. iners. The limited number of Lactobacillus phylotypes found in the human vagina suggested that host factors have a role in the selection of specific organisms, which have specific characteristics that allow them to successfully colonize the vagina.