Recent advances in understanding the microbiology of the female reproductive tract and the causes of premature birth

Infect Dis Obstet Gynecol. 2010:2010:737425. doi: 10.1155/2010/737425. Epub 2010 Dec 9.


Data derived from molecular microbiological investigations of the human vagina have led to the discovery of resident bacterial communities that exhibit marked differences in terms of species composition. All undergo dynamic changes that are likely due to intrinsic host and behavioral factors. Similar types of bacteria have been found in both amniotic fluid and the vagina, suggesting a potential route of colonization. Given that not all of the species involved in intrauterine infections are readily cultivated, it is important that culture-independent methods of analysis must be used to understand the etiology of these infections. Further research is needed to establish whether an ascending pathway from the vagina to the amniotic cavity enables the development of intrauterine infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amniotic Fluid / microbiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Metagenome / genetics
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / microbiology*
  • Premature Birth / microbiology*
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Time Factors
  • Uterus / microbiology*
  • Vagina / microbiology*
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial / complications
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial / microbiology


  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S