The impact of the female genital tract microbiome in women health and reproduction: a review.
J Assist Reprod Genet. Jun.
2021 doi: 10.1007/s10815-021-02247-5
Purpose: The aim of this review is to gather the available research focusing on female genital tract (FGT) microbiome. Research question focuses in decipher which is the role of FGT microbiota in eubiosis, assisted reproduction techniques (ARTs), and gynaecological disorders, and how microbiome could be utilised to improve reproduction outcomes and to treat fertility issues. Methods: PubMed was searched for articles in English from January 2004 to April 2021 for "genital tract microbiota and reproduction", "endometrial microbiome", "microbiome and reproduction" and "microbiota and infertility". Manual search of the references within the resulting articles was performed. Results: Current knowledge confirms predominance of Lactobacillus species, both in vagina and endometrium, whereas higher variability of species is both found in fallopian tubes and ovaries. Microbial signature linked to different disorders such endometriosis, bacterial vaginosis, and gynaecological cancers are described. Broadly, low variability of species and Lactobacillus abundance within the FGT is associated with better reproductive and ART outcomes. Conclusion: Further research regarding FGT microbiome configuration needs to be done in order to establish a more precise link between microbiota and eubiosis or dysbiosis. Detection of bacterial species related with poor reproductive outcomes, infertility or gynaecological diseases could shape new tools for their diagnosis and treatment, as well as resources to assess the pregnancy prognosis based on endometrial microbiota. Data available suggest future research protocols should be standardised, and it needs to include the interplay among microbiome, virome and mycobiome, and the effect of antibiotics or probiotics on the microbiome shifts. Keywords: Endometrial Microbiome; Gynaecological disorders; Human-assisted reproduction; Infertility; Next-generation sequencing; Vaginal microbiome.