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Trends Microbiol. 2018 Jan;26(1):16-32. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2017.07.008. Epub 2017 Aug 23.

Women and Their Microbes: The Unexpected Friendship.

Author information

1
Winclove Probiotics, 11 Hulstweg, 1032 LB Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Electronic address: j.younes@winclove.nl.
2
KU Leuven, Centre of Microbial and Plant Genetics, Kasteelpark Arenberg 20, 3001 Leuven, Belgium; University of Antwerp, Department of Bioscience Engineering, Antwerp, Belgium.
3
McMaster University, Department of Family Medicine, 100 Main Street West Hamilton, ON L8P 1H6, Canada.
4
University Medical Center Groningen, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Antonius Deusinglaan 1, 9713AV Groningen, The Netherlands.
5
Human Microbiology and Probiotics, Lawson Health Research Institute, 268 Grosvenor Street, London, Ontario, N6A 4V2, Canada; Departments of Microbiology & Immunology, and Surgery, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, N6A 5C1, Canada.
6
KU Leuven, Centre of Microbial and Plant Genetics, Kasteelpark Arenberg 20, 3001 Leuven, Belgium; University of Antwerp, Department of Bioscience Engineering, Antwerp, Belgium. Electronic address: mariya.petrova@kuleuven.be.

Abstract

Communities of microbiota have been associated with numerous health outcomes, and while much emphasis has been placed on the gastrointestinal niche, there is growing interest in the microbiome specific for female reproductive health and the health of their offspring. The vaginal microbiome plays an essential role not only in health and dysbiosis, but also potentially in successful fertilization and healthy pregnancies. In addition, microbial communities have been isolated from formerly forbidden sterile niches such as the placenta, breast, uterus, and Fallopian tubes, strongly suggesting an additional microbial role in women's health. A combination of maternally linked prenatal, birth, and postnatal factors, together with environmental and medical interventions, influence early and later life through the microbiome. Here, we review the role of microbes in female health focusing on the vaginal tract and discuss how male and female reproductive microbiomes are intertwined with conception and how mother-child microbial transfer is a key determinant in infant health, and thus the next generation.

KEYWORDS:

birth; conception; menopause; microbial inheritance; pregnancy; probiotics; reproductive microbiome; urogenital health; women’s health

PMID:
28844447
DOI:
10.1016/j.tim.2017.07.008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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