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The effects of circumcision on the penis microbiome

Price, Lance B. and Liu, Cindy M. and Johnson, Kristine E. and Aziz, Maliha and Lau, Matthew K. and Bowers, Jolene and Ravel, Jacques and Keim, Paul S. and Serwadda, David and Wawer, Maria J. and Gray, Ronald H. (2010) The effects of circumcision on the penis microbiome. PLoS ONE, 5 (1). e8422. ISSN 1932-6203

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Publisher’s or external URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0008422


Background: Circumcision is associated with significant reductions in HIV, HSV-2 and HPV infections among men and significant reductions in bacterial vaginosis among their female partners. Methodology/Principal Findings: We assessed the penile (coronal sulci) microbiota in 12 HIV-negative Ugandan men before and after circumcision. Microbiota were characterized using sequence-tagged 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing targeting the V3-V4 hypervariable regions. Taxonomic classification was performed using the RDP Naïve Bayesian Classifier. Among the 42 unique bacterial families identified, Pseudomonadaceae and Oxalobactericeae were the most abundant irrespective of circumcision status. Circumcision was associated with a significant change in the overall microbiota (PerMANOVA p = 0.007) and with a significant decrease in putative anaerobic bacterial families (Wilcoxon Signed-Rank test p = 0.014). Specifically, two families—Clostridiales Family XI (p = 0.006) and Prevotellaceae (p = 0.006)—were uniquely abundant before circumcision. Within these families we identified a number of anaerobic genera previously associated with bacterial vaginosis including: Anaerococcus spp., Finegoldia spp., Peptoniphilus spp., and Prevotella spp. Conclusions/Significance: The anoxic microenvironment of the subpreputial space may support pro-inflammatory anaerobes that can activate Langerhans cells to present HIV to CD4 cells in draining lymph nodes. Thus, the reduction in putative anaerobic bacteria after circumcision may play a role in protection from HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Item Type: Article
ID number or DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008422
Keywords: bacterial vaginitis; circumcision; genes; hiv-1 target-cells; HIV infections; HIV (Viruses); human-immunodeficiency-virus; Infection; intensive-care-unit; langerhans-cells; Men; papillomaviruses; penis -- Surgery; periodontal bacteria; pseudomonas-aeruginosa; randomized controlled-trial; RNA; Sexually transmitted diseases; transmission
Subjects: Q Science > QR Microbiology > QR355 Virology
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Faculty/Staff
Department/Unit: College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Science > Biological Sciences
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2015 17:55
URI: http://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/1702

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