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Link between cigarette smoking and altered vaginal tract metabolomic profile

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eMediNexus    07 July 2018

The mechanism linking smoking with vaginal microbiome and bacterial vaginosis (BV) is not clearly understood. Therefore, a recent study compared the vaginal metabolomes of 17 smokers and 19 non-smokers. Metabolomic profiles were determined by gas and liquid chromatography mass spectrometry. Analysis of the 16S rRNA gene populations revealed that the samples were clustered into three community state types (CSTs) ---- CST-I (L. crispatus-dominated), CST-III (L. iners-dominated) or CST-IV (low-Lactobacillus). In all, 607 metabolites were identified. Of these, 12 were significantly different between smokers and non-smokers. Nicotine, and the breakdown metabolites cotinine and hydroxycotinine, were considerably higher in smokers. Among CST-IV women, biogenic amines, including agmatine, cadaverine, putrescine, tryptamine and tyramine were substantially higher in smokers, while dipeptides were lower in smokers. These biogenic amines have been shown to affect the virulence of infective pathogens and contribute to vaginal malodor. The study thus suggested that cigarette smoking is associated with differences in significant vaginal metabolites. It also suggested that women who smoke, particularly those who are also lacking for Lactobacillus spp., may have increased susceptibility to urogenital infections and increased malodor. The findings are published in Scientific Reports.

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