The bacterial microbiome in paired vaginal and vestibular samples from women with vulvar vestibulitis syndrome
Composition of the bacterial microbiome in the vagina and vestibule from 30 women with vulvar vestibulitis syndrome (VVS) and 15 healthy controls were compared by pyrosequencing 16S rRNA gene amplicons. Vaginal concentrations of interleukin (IL)-1β were determined by ELISA. Questionnaires elicited clinical and symptom data. Eighteen genera were detected in vaginal samples, and 23 genera were identified in vestibule samples, from women with VVS. The genera at both sites and the mean number of genera in subjects with VVS were largely similar to those in control subjects. However, differences were noted including higher proportions of Streptococcus and Enterococcus in women with VVS. Furthermore, Lactobacillus iners was more frequently identified in women with VVS while L. crispatus was more frequent in the control women. The dominant bacterial genera in the vagina closely paralleled the dominant genera present in the corresponding vestibular sample in both groups, leading us to postulate that vaginal secretions are an important source of bacteria present on the vestibule. Vaginal IL-1β levels were similar and varied depending on the dominant bacteria. We conclude in this pilot study that no major differences are apparent in the vagina and vestibule between women with or without VVS, except for an increased prevalence of Streptococcus and L. iners in some women with VVS.