Lactobacillus strains isolated from the vaginal microbiota of healthy women inhibit Prevotella bivia and Gardnerella vaginalis in coculture and cell culture


  • Editor: Alex van Belkum

Correspondence: Alain L. Servin, Faculté de Pharmacie, Unité Inserm 756, F-92296 Châtenay-Malabry, France. Tel.: +33 1 46 83 56 61; fax: +33 1 46 83 58 44; e-mail:


The purpose of this study was to investigate how human vaginal isolates of Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus jensenii, Lactobacillus gasseri and Lactobacillus crispatus inhibit the vaginosis-associated pathogens Gardnerella vaginalis and Prevotella bivia. Results show that all the strains in coculture condition reduced the viability of G. vaginalis and P. bivia, but with differing degrees of efficacy. The treatment of G. vaginalis- and P. bivia-infected cultured human cervix epithelial HeLa cells with L. gasseri strain KS120.1 culture or cell-free culture supernatant (CFCS) results in the killing of the pathogens that are adhering to the cells. The mechanism of the killing activity is not attributable to low pH and the presence of lactic acid alone, but rather to the presence of hydrogen peroxide and proteolytic enzyme-resistant compound(s) present in the CFCSs. In addition, coculture of G. vaginalis or P. bivia with L. gasseri KS120.1 culture or KS120.1 bacteria results in inhibition of the adhesion of the pathogens onto HeLa cells.