Immunoglobulin A response against Gardnerella vaginalis hemolysin and sialidase activity in bacterial vaginosis


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Abstract

OBJECTIVEThe aim of this study was to investigate the correlation between the immunoglobulin A immune response to Gardnerella vaginalis hemolysin and sialidase activity in vaginal fluids from patients with bacterial vaginosis.STUDY DESIGNNonpregnant women who were examined at a gynecologic clinic, in an age range of 18 to 62 years, were enrolled. The study population comprised 131 healthy volunteers, 32 women with bacterial vaginosis that was positive for immunoglobulin A to Gardnerella vaginalis hemolysin, 40 women with bacterial vaginosis that was negative for immunoglobulin A to Gardnerella vaginalis hemolysin, and 19 women with Candida vaginitis. Bacterial vaginosis was diagnosed by clinical criteria and Gram stain.RESULTSSialidase activity was present in 75% (54/72) of patients with bacterial vaginosis. Women having bacterial vaginosis and lacking a specific immunoglobulin A response had a significantly higher level of sialidase activity than patients who had an immune response against Gardnerella vaginalis hemolysin. Sialidase activity was detected in 87% (35/40) of the former subgroup of patients with bacterial vaginosis and in 59% (19/32) of women of the latter subgroup. No sialidase activity was measured in patients with candidiasis. Specificity of the assay for healthy controls was 95% (124/131 women without sialidase activity).CONCLUSIONSSialidases produced by Prevotella bivia and other microorganisms present in the microflora of patients with bacterial vaginosis are very likely a virulence factor not only by destroying the mucins and enhancing adherence of bacteria but also by impairing a specific immunoglobulin A immune response against other virulence factors such as cytotoxin from Gardnerella vaginalis. (Am J Obstet Gynecol 1998;178:511-5.)

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