Genetic predictors for bacterial vaginosis in women living with and at risk for HIV infection

Kerry Murphy, Quihu Shi, Donald R. Hoover, Adaora A. Adimora, Maria L. Alcaide, Susan Brockmann, Elizabeth Daubert, Priya Duggal, Daniel Merenstein, Jodie A. Dionne, Anandi N. Sheth, Marla J. Keller, Betsy C. Herold, Kathryn Anastos, Bradley Aouizerat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Problem: Bacterial vaginosis (BV) disproportionally impacts Black and Hispanic women, placing them at risk for HIV, sexually transmitted infections and preterm birth. It is unknown whether there are differences by genetic ancestry in BV risk or whether polymorphisms associated with BV risk differ by ancestry. Methods: Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) participants with longitudinal Nugent scores were dichotomized as having (n = 319, Nugent 7–10) or not having BV (n = 367, Nugent 0–3). Genetic ancestry was defined by clustering of principal components from ancestry informative markers and further stratified by BV status. 627 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across 41 genes important in mucosal defense were identified in the WIHS GWAS. A logistic regression analysis was adjusted for nongenetic predictors of BV and self-reported race/ethnicity to assess associations between genetic ancestry and genotype. Results: Self-reported race and genetic ancestry were associated with BV risk after adjustment for behavioral factors. Polymorphisms in mucosal defense genes including syndecans, cytokines and toll-like receptors (TLRs) were associated with BV in all ancestral groups. Conclusions: The common association of syndecan, cytokine and TLR genes and the importance of immune function and inflammatory pathways in BV, suggests these should be targeted for further research on BV pathogenesis and therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13845
JournalAmerican Journal of Reproductive Immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2024


  • HIV
  • SNPs
  • bacterial vaginosis
  • cytokines
  • genetic ancestry
  • genetic polymorphism
  • mucosal immunity
  • race
  • syndecans
  • toll-like receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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