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Biosurfactant from vaginal Lactobacillus crispatus BC1 as a promising agent to interfere with Candida adhesion

  • 2020-06-18
  • Microbial Cell Factories 19(1)
    • P. R. De Gregorio
    • C. Parolin
    • A. Abruzzo
    • B. Luppi
    • M. Protti
    • L. Mercolini
    • J. A. Silva
    • B. Giordani
    • A. Marangoni
    • M. Nader-Macías
    • B. Vitali


Background: Lactobacillus spp. dominating the vaginal microbiota of healthy women contribute to the prevention of urogenital and sexually transmitted infections. Their protective role in the vagina can be mediated by Lactobacillus cells themselves, metabolites or bacterial components, able to interfere with pathogen adhesion and infectivity. Vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) is a common genital infection, caused by the overgrowth of opportunistic Candida spp. including C. albicans, C. glabrata, C. krusei and C. tropicalis. Azole antifungal drugs are not always efficient in resolving VVC and preventing recurrent infections, thus alternative anti-Candida agents based on vaginal probiotics have gained more importance. The present work aims to chemically characterize the biosurfactant (BS) isolated from a vaginal Lactobacillus crispatus strain, L. crispatus BC1, and to investigate its safety and antiadhesive/antimicrobial activity against Candida spp., employing in vitro and in vivo assays.

Results: BS isolated from vaginal L. crispatus BC1 was characterised as non-homogeneous lipopeptide molecules with a critical micellar concentration value of 2 mg/mL, and good emulsification and mucoadhesive properties. At 1.25 mg/mL, the BS was not cytotoxic and reduced Candida strains' ability to adhere to human cervical epithelial cells, mainly by exclusion mechanism. Moreover, intravaginal ( inoculation of BS in a murine experimental model was safe and did not perturb vaginal cytology, histology and cultivable vaginal microbiota. In the case of challenge of mice with C. albicans, BS was able to reduce leukocyte influx.

Conclusions: These results indicate that BS from vaginal L. crispatus BC1 is able to interfere with Candida adhesion in vitro and in vivo, and suggest its potential as a preventive agent to reduce mucosal damage occasioned by Candida during VVC.

Keywords: Anti-Candida activity; Biosurfactant; Candida spp.; HeLa cells; Lactobacillus crispatus; Murine model; Vagina; Vulvovaginal candidiasis.

Research Insights

SupplementHealth OutcomeEffect TypeEffect Size
Lactobacillus crispatusNo Cytotoxicity at 1.25 mg/mLNeutral
Lactobacillus crispatusReduced Leukocyte Influx During C. Albicans ChallengeBeneficial
Lactobacillus crispatusSafe Intravaginal Inoculation in Murine ModelNeutral

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