Background: Use of a levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system (LNG-IUS) in humans may alter vaginal microbial populations and susceptibility to pathogens. This study evaluated the time-dependent effects of an LNG-IUS on the vaginal microbiome of the baboon, a useful animal model for reproductive studies. Methods: Levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine systems were inserted into three reproductively mature, female baboons. The animals were evaluated for 6 months by physical examination and Gram-stained cytology. The vaginal microbiota was characterized at each timepoint by culture-independent analysis of the 16S rRNA-encoding gene. Results: Each baboon harbored a diverse vaginal microbiome. Interindividual variation exceeded intra-individual variation. Diversity declined over time in one baboon and showed mild fluctuations in the other two. There were no significant community differences from early to late post-LNG-IUS placement. Conclusions: The baboon vaginal microbiome is unique to each individual and is polymicrobial. In this pilot study, the vaginal microbiome remained stable from early to late post-LNG-IUS placement.
- Non-human primate