Master of Science
Microbiology and Immunology
The reproductive health of women is influenced by microorganisms and their metabolites, namely those representing the vaginal microbiota and those producing toxins that are ingested. To manipulate the vaginal microbiota toward a health-associated, Lactobacillusdominant state, an approach adopting prebiotic lactulose was taken. Using batch culture, lactulose supported Lactobacillus maintenance and positively altered metabolites, while not disrupting indigenous L. crispatus epithelial adherence. The vagina also harbours abundant glycogen, but initial assumptions that lactobacilli utilize it were incorrect. I have now shown that glycogen selectively stimulates organisms associated with dysbiosis and L. iners in a self-limiting manner. Other compounds such as environmental toxins have not previously been shown to impact vaginal health. In a cohort of Rwandan women, I found that they were indeed exposed to fungal toxins. In summary, I have shown that microbes, carbohydrates, and mycotoxins can play a significant role in the health of women in Canada and beyond.
Collins, Stephanie L., "Carbohydrates and Fungal Toxin Exposure Influence the Vaginal Microbiota, Metabolome, and Reproductive Health of Women" (2017). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 5158.
Bacteria Commons, Bacterial Infections and Mycoses Commons, Environmental Public Health Commons, Female Urogenital Diseases and Pregnancy Complications Commons, Maternal and Child Health Commons, Women's Health Commons