Search tips
Search criteria 


Logo of jexpmedHomeEditorsContactInstructions for Authors
J Exp Med. 1991 July 1; 174(1): 289–292.
PMCID: PMC2118880

Viricidal effect of Lactobacillus acidophilus on human immunodeficiency virus type 1: possible role in heterosexual transmission


Peroxidase, H2O2, and a halide form a powerful antimicrobial system in phagocytes and tissue fluids, and certain microorganisms can serve as the source of H2O2 for this system. H2O2-generating Lactobacillus acidophilus (LB+) is present in the vagina of most normal women and peroxidase has been detected in vaginal fluid. LB+ at high concentration is viricidal to HIV-1, and, at levels where LB+ is ineffective alone, the addition of peroxidase (myeloperoxidase, eosinophil peroxidase) and a halide (chloride, iodide, bromide, thiocyanate) restore viricidal activity. LB+ can be replaced by H2O2, but not by non-H2O2-producing LB, and viricidal activity is inhibited by azide and catalase. The survival of HIV in the female genital tract and thus the likelihood of transmission may be influenced by the activity of the LB(+)-peroxidase-halide system in the vagina.

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (396K).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Holmes KK, Karon JM, Kreiss J. The increasing frequency of heterosexually acquired AIDS in the United States, 1983-88. Am J Public Health. 1990 Jul;80(7):858–863. [PubMed]
  • Quinn TC, Mann JM, Curran JW, Piot P. AIDS in Africa: an epidemiologic paradigm. Science. 1986 Nov 21;234(4779):955–963. [PubMed]
  • Haverkos HW, Edelman R. The epidemiology of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome among heterosexuals. JAMA. 1988 Oct 7;260(13):1922–1929. [PubMed]
  • Belding ME, Klebanoff SJ, Ray CG. Peroxidase-mediated virucidal systems. Science. 1970 Jan 9;167(3915):195–196. [PubMed]
  • Klebanoff SJ, Smith DC. Peroxidase-mediated antimicrobial activity of rat uterine fluid. Gynecol Invest. 1970;1(1):21–30. [PubMed]
  • Smith DC, Klebanoff SJ. A uterine fluid-mediated sperm-inhibitory system. Biol Reprod. 1970 Oct;3(2):229–235. [PubMed]
  • Weiss SJ, Test ST, Eckmann CM, Roos D, Regiani S. Brominating oxidants generated by human eosinophils. Science. 1986 Oct 10;234(4773):200–203. [PubMed]
  • Mayeno AN, Curran AJ, Roberts RL, Foote CS. Eosinophils preferentially use bromide to generate halogenating agents. J Biol Chem. 1989 Apr 5;264(10):5660–5668. [PubMed]
  • Slungaard A, Mahoney JR., Jr Thiocyanate is the major substrate for eosinophil peroxidase in physiologic fluids. Implications for cytotoxicity. J Biol Chem. 1991 Mar 15;266(8):4903–4910. [PubMed]
  • DOGON IL, KERR AC, AMDUR BH. Characterization of an antibacterial factor in human parotid secretions, active against Lactobacillus casei. Arch Oral Biol. 1962 Jan-Feb;7:81–90. [PubMed]
  • Hamon CB, Klebanoff SJ. A peroxidase-mediated, streptococcus mitis-dependent antimicrobial system in saliva. J Exp Med. 1973 Feb 1;137(2):438–450. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Klebanoff SJ, Belding ME. Virucidal activity of H2O2-generating bacteria: requirement for peroxidase and a halide. J Infect Dis. 1974 Mar;129(3):345–348. [PubMed]
  • Klebanoff SJ, Smith DC. The source of H2O2 for the uterine fluid-mediated sperm-inhibitory system. Biol Reprod. 1970 Oct;3(2):236–242. [PubMed]
  • Clark RA, Klebanoff SJ, Einstein AB, Fefer A. Peroxidase-H2O2-halide system: Cytotoxic effect on mammalian tumor cells. Blood. 1975 Feb;45(2):161–170. [PubMed]
  • Eschenbach DA, Davick PR, Williams BL, Klebanoff SJ, Young-Smith K, Critchlow CM, Holmes KK. Prevalence of hydrogen peroxide-producing Lactobacillus species in normal women and women with bacterial vaginosis. J Clin Microbiol. 1989 Feb;27(2):251–256. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Rakita RM, Michel BR, Rosen H. Differential inactivation of Escherichia coli membrane dehydrogenases by a myeloperoxidase-mediated antimicrobial system. Biochemistry. 1990 Jan 30;29(4):1075–1080. [PubMed]
  • Jörg A, Pasquier JM, Klebanoff SJ. Purification of horse eosinophil peroxidase. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1982 Feb 18;701(2):185–191. [PubMed]
  • Klebanoff SJ, Waltersdorph AM, Rosen H. Antimicrobial activity of myeloperoxidase. Methods Enzymol. 1984;105:399–403. [PubMed]
  • Root RK, Metcalf J, Oshino N, Chance B. H2O2 release from human granulocytes during phagocytosis. I. Documentation, quantitation, and some regulating factors. J Clin Invest. 1975 May;55(5):945–955. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Tsibris JC, Virgin SD, Khan-Dawood FS, Langenberg PW, Thomason JL, Spellacy WN. Cervicovaginal peroxidases: markers of the fertile period. Obstet Gynecol. 1986 Mar;67(3):316–320. [PubMed]
  • VON KAULLA KN, AIKAWA JK, BRUNS PD, WIKLE WT. Secretory function of the human uterine cervix; studies with radioisotopes. Fertil Steril. 1957 Sep-Oct;8(5):444–454. [PubMed]
  • Borzy MS, Connell RS, Kiessling AA. Detection of human immunodeficiency virus in cell-free seminal fluid. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 1988;1(5):419–424. [PubMed]
  • Fultz PN, McClure HM, Daugharty H, Brodie A, McGrath CR, Swenson B, Francis DP. Vaginal transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to a chimpanzee. J Infect Dis. 1986 Nov;154(5):896–900. [PubMed]
  • Miller CJ, Alexander NJ, Sutjipto S, Lackner AA, Gettie A, Hendrickx AG, Lowenstine LJ, Jennings M, Marx PA. Genital mucosal transmission of simian immunodeficiency virus: animal model for heterosexual transmission of human immunodeficiency virus. J Virol. 1989 Oct;63(10):4277–4284. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Tihole F. Possible treatment of AIDS patients with live lactobacteria. Med Hypotheses. 1988 May;26(1):85–88. [PubMed]

Articles from The Journal of Experimental Medicine are provided here courtesy of The Rockefeller University Press