Anti-vaginitis Effect of Phenylacetic acid Produced by the Commensal Vaginal Bacterium Chryseobacterium gleum
Eun Hye Kim1, Su Hee Jang1, Eun Ji Kang2, Kap-Hoon Han3, Jong-Sik Jin4, and In Hyun Hwang5*, and Ji-Hye Ahn1*
1Department of Oriental Pharmacy, Woosuk University, Wanju, Jeonbuk 55338, Republic of Korea
2Department of Food science and Biotechnology, Woosuk University, Wanju, Jeonbuk 55338, Republic of Korea
3Department of Pharmaceutical Engineering, Woosuk University, Wanju, Jeonbuk 55338, Republic of Korea
4Department of Oriental Medicine Resources, Jeonbuk National University, Iksan, Jeonbuk 54596, Republic of Korea
5Department of Pharmacy, Woosuk University, Wanju, Jeonbuk 55338, Republic of Korea
Human microbiota contains genetic information that leads to the interaction with host via selective gene expression for metabolite biosynthesis. Whereas acidic vaginal pH is maintained in the normal condition, the pH increase is often observed in case of vaginitis caused by Candida albicans and Gardnerella vaginalis. Based on the hypothesis that such drastic change in vaginal environment triggers selective biosynthetic gene expression to produce metabolites that alleviate symptoms of vaginitis, Chryseobacterium gleum, a commensal vaginal bacterium, was cultured in acidic and neutral pH conditions. A distinctive difference in the chemical profiles between the two cultures was presumed to be a messenger molecule related to vaginitis, responsible for which was identified as phenylacetic acid (PAA) by the genetic and spectroscopic data analysis. Antimicrobial activity of PAA was evaluated in vitro, showing greater toxicity toward C. albicans and G. vaginalis relative to that of Lactobacillus spp. In addition, myeloperoxidase activity and NF-κB and COX-2 expression levels were reduced in mice by intravaginal administration of PAA. Therefore, PAA was suggested to be a possible messenger chemical that mediate interactions between the human microbiome and vaginal health.