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Biophysical interactions of vaginal microorganisms

PhD ceremony:Ms J.A. (Jesse) Younes
When:May 06, 2015
Supervisors:prof. dr. H.C. (Henny) van der Mei, prof. dr. ir. H.J. (Henk) Busscher, G. Reid
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Medical Sciences / UMCG
Biophysical interactions of vaginal microorganisms

Vaginal health has always been important, but current research is just starting to be able to explain why and how to maintain it. Unfortunately, vaginal infections are very common, hard to treat, and poorly understood. Infections caused by changes in the vaginal bacterial community can lead to serious health consequences for a woman and any children she may bear. Normal vaginal bacteria (generally Lactobacillus sp.) and probiotic bacteria show promising directions for prevention and therapy. This thesis looks at the importance of adhesion between vaginal bacteria (pathogens and lactobacilli) and between bacteria and vaginal cells to see how it affects circumstances commonly seen in vaginal infection (e.g. inflammation, biofilm formation, toxin production, etc). Adhesive lactobacilli bacteria are better able to reduce pathogen virulence, inflammation, and biofilm formation than non-adhesive ones. Pathogenic bacteria seem to stick more strongly to vaginal cells, but lactobacilli adhere better to the pathogens themselves, and perhaps this is one of the mechanisms by which they exert their beneficial influence. Adhesion is an important factor that should be further investigated among vaginal bacteria.