Treatment of biofilms in bacterial vaginosis by an amphoteric tenside pessary-clinical study and microbiota analysis

Microbiome. 2017 Sep 13;5(1):119. doi: 10.1186/s40168-017-0326-y.


Background: Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most common vaginal syndrome among women in their reproductive years. It is associated with an increased risk of acquiring sexually transmitted infections and complications like preterm labor. BV is characterized by a high recurrence rate for which biofilms frequently found on vaginal epithelial cells may be a reason.

Results: Here, we report a controlled randomized clinical trial that tested the safety and effectiveness of a newly developed pessary containing an amphoteric tenside (WO3191) to disrupt biofilms after metronidazole treatment of BV. Pessaries containing lactic acid were provided to the control group, and microbial community composition was determined via Illumina sequencing of the V1-V2 region of the 16S rRNA gene. The most common community state type (CST) in healthy women was characterized by Lactobacillus crispatus. In BV, diversity was high with communities dominated by either Lactobacillus iners, Prevotella bivia, Sneathia amnii, or Prevotella amnii. Women with BV and proven biofilms had an increased abundance of Sneathia sanguinegens and a decreased abundance of Gardnerella vaginalis. Following metronidazole treatment, clinical symptoms cleared, Nugent score shifted to Lactobacillus dominance, biofilms disappeared, and diversity (Shannon index) was reduced in most women. Most of the patients responding to therapy exhibited a L. iners CST. Treatment with WO 3191 reduced biofilms but did not prevent recurrence. Women with high diversity after antibiotic treatment were more likely to develop recurrence.

Conclusions: Stabilizing the low diversity healthy flora by promoting growth of health-associated Lactobacillus sp. such as L. crispatus may be beneficial for long-term female health.

Trial registration: NCT02687789.

Keywords: Amphoteric tenside; Bacterial vaginosis; Biofilms; Vaginal microbiome; Vaginal microbiota.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Biofilms / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Gardnerella vaginalis / drug effects
  • Gardnerella vaginalis / genetics
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Lactobacillus / drug effects
  • Lactobacillus / genetics
  • Lactobacillus crispatus / drug effects
  • Lactobacillus crispatus / genetics
  • Lactobacillus crispatus / isolation & purification
  • Metronidazole / therapeutic use
  • Microbiota / drug effects*
  • Microbiota / genetics
  • Middle Aged
  • Pessaries
  • Prevotella / drug effects
  • Prevotella / genetics
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Surface-Active Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Vagina / drug effects
  • Vagina / microbiology*
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial / drug therapy*
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial / microbiology
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S
  • Surface-Active Agents
  • Metronidazole

Associated data