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Vaginal sialoglycan foraging by Gardnerella vaginalis: mucus barriers as a meal for unwelcome guests?

Authors
  • Agarwal, Kavita1
  • Lewis, Amanda L1
  • 1 Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Glycobiology Research and Training Center, University of California San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla CA 92093, USA.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Glycobiology
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Publication Date
Jun 29, 2021
Volume
31
Issue
6
Pages
667–680
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1093/glycob/cwab024
PMID: 33825850
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a condition of the vaginal microbiome in which there are few lactobacilli and abundant anaerobic bacteria. Members of the genus Gardnerella are often one of the most abundant bacteria in BV. BV is associated with a wide variety of poor health outcomes for women. It has been recognized since the 1980s that women with BV have detectable and sometimes markedly elevated levels of sialidase activity in vaginal fluids and that bacteria associated with this condition produce this activity in culture. Mounting evidence collected using diverse methodologies points to the conclusion that BV is associated with a reduction in intact sialoglycans in cervicovaginal secretions. Here we review evidence for the contributions of vaginal bacteria, especially Gardnerella, in the processes of mucosal sialoglycan degradation, uptake, metabolism and depletion. Our understanding of the impacts of vaginal sialoglycan degradation is still limited. However, the potential implications of sialic acid depletion are discussed in light of our current understanding of the roles played by sialoglycans in vaginal physiology. © The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: [email protected]

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