The Effects of Commensal Bacteria on Innate Immune Responses in the Female Genital Tract

Paria Mirmonsef, Douglas Gilbert, Mohammad R. Zariffard, Bruce R. Hamaker, Amandeep Kaur, Alan L. Landay, Greg T. Spear

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Citation Mirmonsef P, Gilbert D, Zariffard MR, Hamaker BR, Kaur A, Landay AL, Spear GT. The effects of commensal bacteria on innate immune responses in the female genital tract. Am J Reprod Immunol 2011; 65: 190-195 The innate and adaptive immune systems are important mechanisms for resistance to pathogens in the female lower genital tract. Lactobacilli at this site help maintain a healthy vagina by producing several factors including lactic acid. Indeed, bacterial vaginosis, a condition in which the genital microbiota is altered, is strongly associated with increased rates of a number of infections including HIV. However, the precise factors that contribute to increased rates of microbial and viral infections in bacterial vaginosis remain to be elucidated. We have studied the effects of bacterial microbiota in the lower genital tract on innate immunity and have found that Toll-like receptor ligands and short chain fatty acids, produced by bacterial microbiota, have dramatic effects on immune function. In this review, we will discuss these results, in addition to some recent articles that we believe will enhance our understanding of how microbes might interact with the immune system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)190-195
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Reproductive Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Innate immunity
  • Short chain fatty acids
  • Vaginal microbiota

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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