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Certain strains of lactobacillus bacteria can dampen production of toxic shock syndrome toxin 1

Certain Streptococci increase their production of toxic shock syndrome toxin 1, sometimes to potentially dangerous levels, when aerobic bacteria are present in the vagina. But scientists from the University of Western Ontario have discovered certain strains of lactobacillus bacteria are capable of dampening production of that toxin according to research published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

"The risk of potentially fatal toxic shock syndrome appears to be influenced by the types of bacteria present in the vagina," says principal investigator Gregor Reid.

In planning the study, "I figured that the Staphylococcus aureus strains with the ability to produce toxic shock syndrome toxin might only do this under certain environmental conditions," says Reid. "In the vagina, that means depending on pH and the other bacteria living there."

The researchers took swabs from women with clinically healthy vaginal status, with intermediate status, and from those diagnosed with bacterial vaginosis. They then identified the bacterial species, and assayed for toxic shock syndrome toxin 1. "In particular, Streptococcus agalactiae, often referred to as Group B streptococci, an organism of particular concern when giving birth, increased toxin production 3.7-fold," says Reid. But various species of lactobacillus repressed toxin production, one by 72 percent.

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