Human vaginal microorganisms play an important role in maintaining good health throughout the human life cycle. An imbalance in the vaginal microbiota is associated with an increased risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). This study aimed to characterize and compare vaginal microbial profiles of premenopausal Korean women with and without PID. 74 Korean premenopausal female vaginal samples were obtained; 33 were from healthy women (a control group) and 41 from PID patients. Vaginal fluid samples were collected from the vaginal wall and posterior cervix and then analyzed by 16S ribosomal ribonucleic acid (rRNA) gene-based amplicon sequencing. Results showed a significant difference between the vaginal microbial communities of the two groups (Jensen-Shannon, p = 0.014; Bray-Curtis, p = 0.009; Generalized UniFrac, p = 0.007; UniFrac, p = 0.008). Lactobacillus accounted for the highest percentage (61.0%) of the control group but was significantly decreased (34.9%) in PID patients; this was the most significant difference among all bacterial communities (p = 0.028, LDA effect size = 5.129). In addition, in the PID patient group, species diversity significantly increased (Simpson, p = 0.07) as the proportion of various pathogens increased evenly, resulting in a polymicrobial infection. Similarly, lactate, which constituted the highest percentage of the organic acids in the control group, was significantly decreased in the PID patient group (p = 0.04). The present study’s findings will help understand PID from the microbiome perspective and are expected to contribute to the development of more efficient PID diagnosis and treatment modalities.

Publication timeframe:
4 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Life Sciences, Microbiology and Virology