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Vaginal Microbiota and HPV Infection: Novel Mechanistic Insights and Therapeutic Strategies

Authors Li Y, Yu T, Yan H, Li D, Yu T, Yuan T, Rahaman A, Ali S, Abbas F, Dian Z, Wu X, Baloch Z

Received 31 March 2019

Accepted for publication 11 March 2020

Published 30 April 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 1213—1220


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Eric Nulens

Yuanyue Li,1,* Tao Yu,1,* Huang Yan,2 Duanduan Li,2 Tang Yu,2 Tao Yuan,1 Abdul Rahaman,3 Shahid Ali,3 Farhat Abbas,2 Ziqin Dian,4 Xiaomei Wu,1 Zulqarnain Baloch5

1Department of Gynaecology, The First People’s Hospital of Yunnan Province, Kunming 650032, Yunnan, People’s Republic of China; 2South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, People’s Republic of China; 3School of Food Science and Engineering, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China; 4Department of Clinical Laboratory, The First People’s Hospital of Yunnan Province, Kunming, Yunnan 650032, People’s Republic of China; 5Biomedical Research Center, Northwest Minzu University, Lanzhou 730030, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence: Zulqarnain Baloch
Biomedical Research Center, Northwest Minzu University, Lanzhou 730030, People’s Republic of China
Tel +86 18344564625

Abstract: Cervical cancer is a global public health concern. The complex interaction of genetic and environmental factors is critical for the progress of cervical cancer. Growing evidence suggests that microbes, human papillomavirus (HPV), and the immune system interact closely with each other to govern homeostasis of the vaginal environment and the health of the lower genital tract of females. Certain vaginal microbial strains may play either a protective or a pathogenic role in carcinogenesis of the cervix after HPV persistent infection. Probiotics can therefore present a putative therapeutic approach for cervical cancer. However, work in this field remains limited. Recent technological developments have allowed us to identify microbes and their products using culture-independent molecular detection techniques. In this review, we discuss the composition of the vaginal bacterial community, its commensal flora and the protective impact this has on the health of the female genital tract. This review will also describe critical immune factors in lower genital tract health and summarize the role of the vaginal microbiota in cervical carcinogenesis. Knowledge in this field has provided researchers with the clues and tools to propose the use of probiotics as a potential line of treatment for cervical cancer and has provided valuable insights into host–pathogen interaction dynamics within the female genital tract.

Keywords: vaginal microbiota, human papillomavirus, cervical cancer, immune system, probiotic therapy

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