Infect Immun. 2021 Feb 8. Epub 2021 Feb 8. PMID: 33558324
The complex link between the female genital microbiota, genital infections and inflammation.
The female genital tract microbiota is part of a complex ecosystem influenced by several physiological, genetic and behavioural factors. It is uniquely linked to a woman's mucosal immunity and plays a critical role in the regulation of genital inflammation. A vaginal microbiota characterized by a high abundance of lactobacilli and low overall bacterial diversity is associated with lower inflammation considered optimal On the other hand, more diverse microbiota is linked to high mucosal inflammation levels, a compromised genital epithelial barrier, and increased risk of sexually transmitted infections and other conditions. Several bacterial taxa such asspp.,spp.,spp. orspp. are well-known to have adverse effects; however, the definitive cause of this microbial dysbiosis is yet to be fully elucidated. The aim of this review is to discuss the multiple ways in which the microbiota influences the overall genital inflammatory milieu, and to explore the causes and consequences of this inflammatory response. While there is abundant evidence linking diverse genital microbiota to elevated inflammation, understanding the risk factors and mechanisms through which it affects genital health is essential. A robust appreciation of these factors is important for identifying effective prevention and treatment strategies.