Contraception: Influence on Vaginal Microbiota and Identification of Vaginal Lactobacilli Using MALDI-TOF MS and 16S rDNA Sequencing

Sonia Elena Fosch1, 2, *, Cecilia Aristimuño Ficoseco3, Antonella Marchesi3, Silvina Cocucci4, Maria Elena Fátima Nader-Macias3, Beatriz Elizabeth Perazzi4
1 Agencia PROSAR Santa Fe Norte, Fundación Bioquímica Argentina, Santa Fe, Argentina
2 Servicio de Atención Médica, Ministerio de Salud, Sa Pereira, Argentina
3 CERELA-CONICET (Centro de Referencia para Lactobacilos-Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas), San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina
4 Laboratorio de Bacteriología Clínica, Departamento de Bioquímica Clínica. Hospital de Clínicas, Facultad de Farmacia y Bioquímica, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina.



The vaginal microbiome is mainly regulated by a hormonal immune system and it is influenced by a wide variety of factors, including contraceptive methods.


To evaluate the effect of contraceptive methods on vaginal states in two time points (three and six months), characterizing the vaginal microbiota, and to identify cultivable vaginal Lactobacillus species.

Patients and methods:

One hundred and one (101) women consulting for birth control were included in a prospective study. Their vaginal content was sampled and analyzed once before they started using the contraceptive method of their choice, and twice after the initiation of contraception, at three and six months. MALDI-TOF MS and 16S rDNA sequence analysis were applied for the identification of lactobacilli in their vaginal microbiota. The following contraceptive methods were assessed: combined oral contraceptive pill (COCP), condom (CON) and the rhythm method (RHYT). McNemar’s statistical test was applied.


A statistically significant association between COCP and normal microbiota was observed after three months (p< 0.01) and after six months (p< 0.0001), when the vaginal microbiota was modified. At six months, inflammatory reaction was detected in 3/7 women in the CON group, while 6/7 patients using RHYT showed the same state. Yeast colonization increased with the COCP. Identification of lactobacilli by MALDI-TOF MS analysis compared to 16S rDNA sequencing yielded 92.9% concordant results. Lactobacillus gasseri and L. crispatus were the predominant species.


The pattern of vaginal states was significantly modified. Hormone administration apparently corrected the alterations and retained a normal vaginal state. MALDI-TOF MS has the potential of being an accurate tool for the identification of vaginal lactobacilli species L. murinus was for the first time isolated from the vagina.

Keywords: Contraception, Basic vaginal states, Vaginal microbiota, Lactobacilli.

Abstract Information

Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2018
Volume: 12
Publisher Item Identifier: EA-TOMICROJ-2017-2145

Article History:

Received Date: 27/2/2018
Revision Received Date: 17/05/2018
Acceptance Date: 18/05/2018
Electronic publication date: 30/5/2018
Collection year: 2018

© 2018 Fosch et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Correspondence: Address correspondence to this author at the Agencia PROSAR Santa Fe Norte, Fundación Bioquímica Argentina, Santa Fe, Argentina; Tel: 054 3404494108; E-mail: