Bacterial vaginosis and vaginal fluid defensins during pregnancy

Rukmini B. Balu, David A. Savitz, Cande V. Ananth, Katherine E. Hartmann, William C. Miller, John M. Thorp, R. Phillips Heine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to examine the association between Gram stain findings of vaginal fluid and the concentration of vaginal fluid neutrophil defensins. STUDY DESIGN: Vaginal fluid specimens obtained from 749 women at 24 to 29 weeks of gestation were tested for bacterial vaginosis and assayed for neutrophil defensins. Bacterial vaginosis was studied as a categoric variable (negative, intermediate, and positive), whereas defensins were examined as a continuous measure and dichotomized on the basis of presence versus absence and at the 90th percentile. Multiple linear and logistic regression models were used to assess the relationship between bacterial vaginosis and defensins. RESULTS: Women with intermediate bacterial vaginosis were more likely to have elevated vaginal fluid neutrophil defensins (>90th percentile) than women with normal vaginal flora (adjusted odds ratio, 2.3; 95% Cl, 1.3, 4.2), whereas women with frank bacterial vaginosis were not (adjusted odds ratio, 1.3; 95% Cl, 0.7, 2.6). Among women with any detectable defensin (69.5% of the study population), intermediate bacterial vaginosis was associated positively with defensin concentrations in multiple linear regression models (P = .007). Women with intermediate and frank bacterial vaginosis had 5.9 μg/mL and 2.2 μg/mL higher defensin concentrations, respectively, than women who did not have bacterial vaginosis. The presence of leukocytes in vaginal fluids was associated positively with defensin concentrations (P < .0001). CONCLUSION: Changes in vaginal microflora during mid pregnancy are associated with an increased concentration of vaginal fluid neutrophil defensins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1267-1271
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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