Sustained effect of LACTIN-V (Lactobacillus crispatus CTV-05) on genital immunology following standard bacterial vaginosis treatment: results from a randomised, placebo-controlled trial

Lancet Microbe. 2022 Jun;3(6):e435-e442. doi: 10.1016/S2666-5247(22)00043-X. Epub 2022 Apr 21.


Background: Bacterial vaginosis might increase HIV risk by eliciting genital inflammation and epithelial barrier disruption, whereas vaginal Lactobacillus crispatus is associated with immune quiescence and HIV protection. We investigated the effect of a live biotherapeutic containing L crispatus CTV-05 (LACTIN-V) on genital immunology and key vaginal bacteria.

Methods: This substudy included women aged 18-45 years who participated in the randomised, placebo-controlled, phase 2b trial of LACTIN-V to reduce bacterial vaginosis recurrence, conducted at four universities and hospitals in the USA. Women with negative results for sexually transmitted infection, pregnancy, and urinary tract infection were provided a 5-day course of vaginal metronidazole 0·75% gel. Those who met at least three of four clinical Amsel criteria for bacterial vaginosis and had a Nugent score of 4-10 from Gram staining were eligible. Participants in the LACTIN-V trial were randomly assigned (2:1) to receive either LACTIN-V or placebo, applied vaginally once per day for 5 days during the first week and then twice per week for 10 more weeks. Follow-up visits occurred 4, 8, 12, and 24 weeks after enrolment. Soluble immune factors and the absolute abundance of bacterial taxa were assayed by mutliplex ELISA and quantitative PCR. The primary outcomes were vaginal levels of IL-1α and soluble E-cadherin at 24 weeks (ie, 13 weeks after treatment cessation).

Findings: Between Feb 21, 2020 and March 18, 2021, we characterised genital immune parameters and the vaginal microbiota in a subset of 66 highly adherent participants who were randomly selected, with no exclusion criteria, from those who had attended all study follow-up visits (n=166) in the larger LACTIN-V clinical trial (n=288). 32 (48%) participants received LACTIN-V and 34 (52%) received placebo. LACTIN-V treatment was significantly associated with lower concentrations of the proinflammatory cytokine IL-1α (β coefficient 0·310, SE 0·149; p=0·042) and soluble E-cadherin (0·429, 0·199; p=0·035), a biomarker of epithelial barrier disruption.

Interpretation: Vaginal administration of LACTIN-V following standard bacterial vaginosis therapy resulted in a sustained reduction in genital inflammation and a biomarker of epithelial integrity. The potential of LACTIN-V to reduce HIV susceptibility merits further investigation.

Funding: Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the National Institutes of Health National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria
  • Cadherins / therapeutic use
  • Canada
  • Female
  • HIV Infections* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Lactobacillus crispatus*
  • Metronidazole / therapeutic use
  • United States
  • Vagina / microbiology
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial* / drug therapy


  • Cadherins
  • Metronidazole