The distinct role of the Lactobacillus species in maintenance of vaginal eubiosis
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The human vagina is unlike that of any closely related phylogenetic species due to the abundance of a lactic acid producing bacteria, known as Lactobacillus. This microbial species is known for its direct and indirect contributions to vaginal pathogenic defense, some of which include the elicitation of host immunomodulators, release of bacteriocins and biosurfactants, and lowering of vaginal pH. While Lactobacillus is often considered the hallmark of a healthy human vagina, a significant number of women worldwide lack its abundance in their vaginal microbial communities. The lack of Lactobacillus- dominance does not necessarily equate to a disease-state but could potentially explain an increased risk of viral transmission and recurrent vaginal dysbiosis in these women. This thesis aims to investigate the numerous antimicrobial properties associated with the Lactobacillus species to better understand its significance for female reproductive and vaginal health.