Activity of Genital Tract Secretions and Synthetic Antimicrobial Peptides against Group B Streptococcus

Nidhi Agarwal, Niall Buckley, Natasha Nakra, Philip Gialanella, Weirong Yuan, Jeny P. Ghartey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Problem: Genital tract secretions inhibit Escherichia coli (E. coli) through antimicrobial peptides (AMP) secreted by the host and vaginal microbiota. However, there are limited data against group B Streptococcus (GBS). Method of Study: Group B Streptococcus were incubated with cervico-vaginal lavage (CVL) samples from healthy non-pregnant women (n = 12) or synthetic AMP and monitored for bacterial growth using a turbidimetric approach. E. coli inhibitory activity was determined by a colony-forming unit assay. Results: None of the CVL samples inhibited GBS. The human neutrophil peptide-1 and human defensin 5 inhibited GBS growth by ≥80% at concentrations ≥20 μg/mL and ≥50 μg/mL, respectively, while human beta-defensin 2 and LL-37 did not inhibit at highest concentration tested (100 μg/mL). In contrast, all AMP inhibited E. coli. Conclusions: Antimicrobial peptides may protect against E. coli colonization but have more limited activity against GBS. Future studies will focus on augmenting host defense with specific AMP to prevent genitourinary infection with these pathogenic organisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)499-507
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Reproductive Immunology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Antimicrobial peptides
  • Cervico-vaginal lavage samples
  • Defensins
  • Escherichia coli
  • Female genital tract secretions
  • Group B streptococcus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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