Highly efficient treatment of aerobic vaginitis with simple acidic buffered gels: The importance of pH and buffers on the microenvironment of vaginas

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Aerobic vaginitis (AV) leads to uterus deep infection or preterm birth. Antibacterial agents are not optimal therapeutics of AV. Here, we report a series of temperature-sensitive in situ forming acidic buffered gels for topical treatment of AV, involving lactate, acetate, and citrate gels at pH 3.5, 5.0, and 6.5. AV rat models were prepared following vaginal infection with Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. In vitro/in vivo studies of the buffered gels were performed compared with ofloxacin gels and blank gels. All the buffered gels showed the lower in vitro antibacterial activities than ofloxacin gels but the better in vivo anti-S. aureus effects and similar anti-E. coli effects. The buffered gels improved Lactobacillus growth in the vaginas. Both the healthy rat vaginal pH and the pH of rat vaginas treated with the buffered gels were about 6.5 though the AV rat models or ones treated with ofloxacin gels still remained at the high pH more than 7.0. After treatments with the buffered gels, the vaginal smears changed to a clean state nearly without aerobic bacteria, the vaginal tissues were refreshed, and the immunoreactions were downregulated. The acidic buffered gels bring rapid decrease of local vaginal pH, high antibacterial activities, improvement of probiotics, and alleviation of inflammation. They are simple, highly efficient, and safe anti-AV formulations.Graphical abstract

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