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Bacterial Colonization of the Female Upper Genital Tract

Clinic for Reproductive Medicine and Gynecological Endocrinology, Cantonal Hospital Lucerne, 6000 Lucerne, Switzerland
Fertility Medicine and Gynaecologic Endocrinology Unit, Department Woman-Mother-Child, Lausanne University Hospital, 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland
Materno-fetal and Obstetrics Research Unit, Department Woman-Mother-Child, Lausanne University Hospital, 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(14), 3405;
Received: 21 May 2019 / Revised: 9 July 2019 / Accepted: 10 July 2019 / Published: 11 July 2019
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Bacteria colonize most of the human body, and the female genital tract is not an exception. While the existence of a vaginal microbiota has been well established, the upper genital tract has been considered a sterile environment, with a general assumption that bacterial presence is associated with adverse clinical manifestation. However, recent metagenomic studies identified specific patterns of microbiota colonizing the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and placenta. These results need confirmation and further investigations since the data are only scarce. Bacterial colonization of these sites appears different from the vaginal one, despite evidence that vaginal bacteria could ascend to the upper genital tract through the cervix. Are these bacteria only commensal or do they play a role in the physiology of the female upper genital tract? Which are the genera that may have a negative and a positive impact on the female reproductive function? The aim of this review is to critically present all available data on upper genital tract microbiota and discuss its role in human reproduction, ranging from the technical aspects of these types of analyses to the description of specific bacterial genera. Although still very limited, research focusing on genital colonization of bacteria other than the vaginal milieu might bring novel insights into physiopathology of human reproduction. View Full-Text
Keywords: upper genital tract; microbiota; 16S rRNA metagenomics; Lactobacillus upper genital tract; microbiota; 16S rRNA metagenomics; Lactobacillus

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Peric, A.; Weiss, J.; Vulliemoz, N.; Baud, D.; Stojanov, M. Bacterial Colonization of the Female Upper Genital Tract. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20, 3405.

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