The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of hormonal status and bacterial vaginosis (BV) on the glycosidases present and glycosylation changes as assessed by lectin binding to cervicovaginal lavage constituents. Frozen cervicovaginal lavage samples from a completed study examining the impact of reproductive hormones on the physicochemical properties of vaginal fluid were utilized for the present study. In the parent study, 165 women were characterized as having BV, intermediate or normal microflora using the Nugent criteria. The presence of glycosidases in the samples was determined using quantitative 4-methyl-umbelliferone based assays, and glycosylation was assessed using enzyme linked lectin assays (ELLA). Women with BV had elevated sialidase, α-galactosidase, β-galactosidase and α-glucosidase activities compared to intermediate or normal women (P<0.001, 0.003, 0.006 and 0.042 respectively). The amount of sialic acid (Sambucus nigra, P = 0.003) and high mannose (griffithsin, P<0.001) were reduced, as evaluated by lectin binding, in women with BV. When the data were stratified according to hormonal status, α-glucosidase and griffithsin binding were decreased among postmenopausal women (P<0.02) when compared to premenopausal groups. These data suggest that both hormonal status and BV impact the glycosidases and lectin binding sites present in vaginal fluid. The sialidases present at increased levels in women with BV likely reduce the number of sialic acid binding sites. Other enzymes likely reduce griffithsin binding. The alterations in the glycosidase content, high mannose and sialic acid binding sites in the cervicovaginal fluid associated with bacterial vaginosis may impact susceptibility to viruses, such as HIV, that utilize glycans as a portal of entry.
ASJC Scopus subject areas