June 18, 2024
Implications for Pre-term Birth

Unraveling the Complexity of Gardnerella Species in the Vaginal Microbiome: Implications for Pre-term Birth

A recent study published in mSystems by researchers at North Carolina State University has shed new light on the role of Gardnerella bacteria in the vaginal microbiome and its association with pre-term birth. Gardnerella, a group of anaerobic bacteria commonly found in the vaginal microbiome, has been linked to bacterial vaginosis (BV) and an increased risk of pre-term birth. However, the bacteria are also present in women with no signs of disease.

Ben Callahan, an associate professor of population health and pathobiology at NC State and the study’s corresponding author, explains, “Our goal was to understand the diversity within Gardnerella, as scientists have only recently begun to explore the potential health effects of individual Gardnerella species.”

To identify distinct Gardnerella species from the microbiome data, the research team had to overcome the challenge of extracting microbial data from samples predominantly composed of the host’s DNA Test Kits. Hanna Berman, a postdoctoral research scholar at NC State and the study’s lead author, notes, “Existing tools to study the vaginal microbiome would consider all Gardnerella as the same species. To conduct this research, we had to create our own database of Gardnerella genomes and develop a method to identify the different Gardnerella species.”

The team analyzed sequencing data from three cohorts: two groups of pregnant women from random populations and one group with a history of pre-term birth. They examined the metagenomic sequences of Gardnerella from the samples to determine if there was a relationship between a specific Gardnerella species and pre-term birth. The findings contribute to the growing body of evidence on Gardnerella’s effects on human health.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public Source, Desk Research
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