Dysbiotic Vaginal Microbiota Induces Preterm Birth Cascade via Pathogenic Molecules in the Vagina

Abu Zar Ansari, Young Ah You, Gain Lee, Soo Min Kim, Sun Wha Park, Young Min Hur, Young Ju Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dysbiotic vaginal microbiota (DVM) disturb the vaginal environment, including pH, metabolite, protein, and cytokine profiles. This study investigated the impact of DVM on the vaginal environment in 40 Korean pregnant women and identified predictable biomarkers of birth outcomes. Cervicovaginal fluid (CVF) samples were collected in the third trimester using vaginal swabs, examined for pH, and stored at −80 °C for further analysis. The samples were grouped as full-term (FTB, n = 20) and preterm (PTB, n = 20) births. The microbiota was profiled in the V1–V9 regions. The levels of targeted metabolites, TLR-4, and cytokines were determined. The pH of CVF from PTB (>4.5) was significantly higher than that of the CVF from FTB (>3.5) (p < 0.05). Neonatal gestational age at delivery, birth weight, and Apgar score differed significantly between groups. The relative abundances of beneficial Lactobacillus spp., such as Lactobacillus gasseri, Lactobacillus jensenii, and Bifidobacterium, were higher in FTB, whereas those of pathogenic Enterococcus faecalis, Staphylococcus, Prevotella, Ureaplasma parvum, and Corynebacterium spp. were higher in PTB. Acetate, methanol, TLR-4, and TNF-α levels were negatively correlated with gestational age at delivery and birth weight. Moreover, ethanol, methanol, TLR-4, IL-6, IL-1β, and TNF-α levels were positively correlated with succinate, acetate, acetoacetate, formate, and ammonia. Overall, DVM induces preterm birth via pathogenic molecules in the vagina.

Original languageEnglish
Article number45
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024

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© 2024 by the authors.


  • cervicovaginal fluid
  • cytokine
  • metabolite
  • microbiota
  • preterm birth


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