Probing Bacterial Vaginosis Sialidase As A Risk Factor For GBS Colonization And Fetal Transmission
Nicole Gilbert, Ph.D.
Center for Pediatric Pulmonary Disease
2/1/2014 - 1/31/2016
Maternal genital tract bacteria pose a significant threat to neonatal health. Group B Streptococcus (GBS), a bacterium that frequently colonizes the maternal vagina, can reach the uterus and be transmitted to the baby, resulting in fetal lung damage, long-term lung problems such as pneumonia, and other serious conditions. GBS vaginal colonization is more prevalent among women with bacterial vaginosis (BV)—a condition characterized by a disruption in the balance of vaginal bacteria. GBS and BV are most pronounced in African-American women. It is proposed that BV-GBS co-colonization may explain why African-American women are more likely to deliver preterm babies at a greater risk for invasive GBS disease.
• Determine whether BV-GBS interactions—specifically, the removal of GBS surface molecules known as sialic acids by a BV-associated enzyme called sialidase—augments GBS vaginal colonization, infection and fetal transmission
• Identify the role of host inflammation in BV-GBS pathologies
These mechanistic studies may reveal that BV-GBS co-colonization is a risk factor for adverse pregnancy and neonatal outcomes that could be targeted for improved screening and treatment strategies.