Development and validation of a semiquantitative, multitarget PCR assay for diagnosis of bacterial vaginosis

J Clin Microbiol. 2012 Jul;50(7):2321-9. doi: 10.1128/JCM.00506-12. Epub 2012 Apr 25.


Quantitative PCR assays were developed for 4 organisms reported previously to be useful positive indicators for the diagnosis of bacterial vaginosis (BV)--Atopobium vaginae, Bacterial Vaginosis-Associated Bacterium 2 (BVAB-2), Gardnerella vaginalis, and Megasphaera-1--and a single organism (Lactobacillus crispatus) that has been implicated as a negative indicator for BV. Vaginal samples (n = 169), classified as positive (n = 108) or negative (n = 61) for BV based on a combination of the Nugent Gram stain score and Amsel clinical criteria, were analyzed for the presence and quantity of each of the marker organisms, and the results were used to construct a semiquantitative, multiplex PCR assay for BV based on detection of 3 positive indicator organisms (A. vaginae, BVAB-2, and Megasphaera-1) and classification of samples using a combinatorial scoring system. The prototype BV PCR assay was then used to analyze the 169-member developmental sample set and, in a prospective, blinded manner, an additional 227 BV-classified vaginal samples (110 BV-positive samples and 117 BV-negative samples). The BV PCR assay demonstrated a sensitivity of 96.7% (202/209), a specificity of 92.2% (153/166), a positive predictive value of 94.0%, and a negative predictive value of 95.6%, with 21 samples (5.3%) classified as indeterminate for BV. This assay provides a reproducible and objective means of evaluating critical components of the vaginal microflora in women with signs and symptoms of vaginitis and is comparable in diagnostic accuracy to the conventional gold standard for diagnosis of BV.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Bacteriological Techniques / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Diagnostic Techniques / methods*
  • Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Vagina / microbiology
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial / diagnosis*