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The Role of Genital Tract Microbiome in Fertility: A Systematic Review

Obstetrics and Gynecology Unit, Department of General Surgery and Medical Surgical Specialties, University of Catania, 95123 Catania, Italy
Department of Women’s and Reproductive Health, University of Oxford, Headington, Oxford OX3-0BL, UK
Second Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Centre of Postgraduate Medical Education, 01-809 Warsaw, Poland
Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences and Advanced Technologies, “ G. F. Ingrassia ” , Anatomic Pathology, University of Catania, 95123 Catania, Italy
Department of Agricultural, Food and Environment, University of Catania, 95123 Catania, Italy
ProBioEtna, Spinoff of the University of Catania, 95123 Catania, Italy
Unità di Gineco-patologia e Patologia Mammaria, Dipartimento Scienze della Salute della Donna, del Bambino e di Sanità Pubblica, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS, 00168 Roma, Italy
Obstetrics and Gynecology Unit, Department of Woman, Child and General and Specialized Surgery, University of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”, 80128 Naples, Italy
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Messina, 98122 Messina, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Maurizio Battino
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(1), 180;
Received: 3 December 2021 / Revised: 19 December 2021 / Accepted: 20 December 2021 / Published: 24 December 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Research on Obstetrics and Gynecology)
The human microbiome plays a crucial role in determining the health status of every human being, and the microbiome of the genital tract can affect the fertility potential before and during assisted reproductive treatments (ARTs). This review aims to identify and appraise studies investigating the correlation of genital microbiome to infertility. Publications up to February 2021 were identified by searching the electronic databases PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus and Embase and bibliographies. Only full-text original research articles written in English were considered eligible for analysis, whereas reviews, editorials, opinions or letters, case studies, conference papers, and abstracts were excluded. Twenty-six articles were identified. The oldest studies adopted the exclusive culture-based technique, while in recent years PCR and RNA sequencing based on 16S rRNA were the most used technique. Regardless of the anatomical site under investigation, the Lactobacillus-dominated flora seems to play a pivotal role in determining fertility, and in particular Lactobacillus crispatus showed a central role. Nonetheless, the presence of pathogens in the genital tract, such as Chlamydia trachomatis, Gardnerella vaginalis, Ureaplasma species, and Gram-negative stains microorganism, affected fertility also in case of asymptomatic bacterial vaginosis (BV). We failed to identify descriptive or comparative studies regarding tubal microbiome. The microbiome of the genital tract plays a pivotal role in fertility, also in case of ARTs. The standardization of the sampling methods and investigations approaches is warranted to stratify the fertility potential and its subsequent treatment. Prospective tubal microbiome studies are warranted. View Full-Text
Keywords: infertility; microbiome; lactobacillus; IVF infertility; microbiome; lactobacillus; IVF
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MDPI and ACS Style

Vitale, S.G.; Ferrari, F.; Ciebiera, M.; Zgliczyńska, M.; Rapisarda, A.M.C.; Vecchio, G.M.; Pino, A.; Angelico, G.; Knafel, A.; Riemma, G.; De Franciscis, P.; Cianci, S. The Role of Genital Tract Microbiome in Fertility: A Systematic Review. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23, 180.

AMA Style

Vitale SG, Ferrari F, Ciebiera M, Zgliczyńska M, Rapisarda AMC, Vecchio GM, Pino A, Angelico G, Knafel A, Riemma G, De Franciscis P, Cianci S. The Role of Genital Tract Microbiome in Fertility: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2022; 23(1):180.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Vitale, Salvatore Giovanni, Federico Ferrari, Michał Ciebiera, Magdalena Zgliczyńska, Agnese Maria Chiara Rapisarda, Giada Maria Vecchio, Alessandra Pino, Giuseppe Angelico, Anna Knafel, Gaetano Riemma, Pasquale De Franciscis, and Stefano Cianci. 2022. "The Role of Genital Tract Microbiome in Fertility: A Systematic Review" International Journal of Molecular Sciences 23, no. 1: 180.

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