The seminal microbiome in health and disease

Altmae S, Franasiak J M, Mandar R,
Nat Rev Urol. Dec. 2019 doi: 10.1038/s41585-019-0250-y


Owing to the fact that there are more microbial than human cells in our body and that humans contain more microbial than human genes, the microbiome has huge potential to influence human physiology, both in health and in disease. The use of next-generation sequencing technologies has helped to elucidate functional, quantitative and mechanistic aspects of the complex microorganism-host interactions that underlie human physiology and pathophysiology. The microbiome of semen is a field of increasing scientific interest, although this microbial niche is currently understudied compared with other areas of microbiome research. However, emerging evidence is beginning to indicate that the seminal microbiome has important implications for the reproductive health of men, the health of the couple and even the health of offspring, owing to transfer of microorganisms to the partner and offspring. As this field expands, further carefully designed and well-powered studies are required to unravel the true nature and role of the seminal microbiome.