Analysis of the cervical microbiome and potential biomarkers from postpartum HIV-positive women displaying cervical intraepithelial lesions

Sci Rep. 2017 Dec 12;7(1):17364. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-17351-9.


The cervical microbiota composition and diversity of HIV-positive women in the postpartum period is unknown. Using a high-throughput bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequencing, we identified four community state types (CSTs). CST III (Lactobacillusdominant) and CST IV (IV-A, IV-B.1, IV-B.2; high-diversity) were found in 41% and 59% of samples, respectively. We did not find association of any CST to postpartum period (six or twelve months), HPV infection or cytology (normal or lesion). However, five bacterial genera were associated with cervical lesions (Gardnerella, Aerococcus, Schlegelella, Moryella and Bifidobacterium), with significant odds ratio (OR) of 40 (2.28-706) for the presence of Moryella and 3.5 (1.36-8.9) for Schlegelella. Longitudinal analysis of samples at postpartum that regressed (lesion to normal), progressed (normal to lesion) and maintained the cytology (lesion or normal) evidenced Gardnerella with a significantly higher abundance in regressing lesions. In the current study, we report the first data on the cervical microbiota of HIV-positive women in the postpartum period. Consistent with previous studies of HIV-negative cohorts, HIV-positive women present a stable cervical microbiota of high-diversity in the postpartum period. Our results highlight that specific microbiota species may serve as sensors for changes in the cervical microenvironment associated with cervical lesions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Cervix Uteri / microbiology*
  • Cervix Uteri / pathology
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • DNA, Bacterial / isolation & purification
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • HIV Seropositivity / microbiology*
  • HIV Seropositivity / pathology
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Microbiota*
  • Papillomaviridae / genetics
  • Papillomaviridae / isolation & purification
  • Papillomavirus Infections / microbiology*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / pathology
  • Postpartum Period
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia / microbiology*
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia / pathology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / microbiology*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology
  • Vaginal Smears
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S