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Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most common vaginal infection affecting women worldwide. This infection is characterized by the loss of the dominant Lactobacillus community in the vaginal microbiota and an increase of anaerobic bacteria, that leads to the formation of a polymicrobial biofilm, mostly composed of Gardnerella spp. Treatment of BV is normally performed using broad-spectrum antibiotics, such as metronidazole and clindamycin. However, the high levels of recurrence of infection after treatment cessation have led to a demand for new therapeutic alternatives. Thymbra capitata essential oils (EOs) are known to have a wide spectrum of biological properties, including antibacterial activity. Thus, herein, we characterized two EOs of T. capitata and tested their antimicrobial activity as well as some of their main components, aiming to assess possible synergistic effects. Our findings showed that carvacrol and ρ-cymene established a strong synergistic antimicrobial effect against planktonic cultures of Gardnerella spp. On biofilm, carvacrol and linalool at sub-MIC concentrations proved more efficient in eliminating biofilm cells, while showing no cytotoxicity observed in a reconstituted human vaginal epithelium. The antibiofilm potential of the EOs and compounds was highlighted by the fact cells were not able to recover culturability after exposure to fresh medium. © 2022. The Author(s).


Lúcia G V Sousa, Joana Castro, Carlos Cavaleiro, Lígia Salgueiro, Mariana Tomás, Rita Palmeira-Oliveira, José Martinez-Oliveira, Nuno Cerca. Synergistic effects of carvacrol, α-terpinene, γ-terpinene, ρ-cymene and linalool against Gardnerella species. Scientific reports. 2022 Mar 15;12(1):4417

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PMID: 35292704

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