Characteristics of the vaginal microbiome in women with premature ovarian insufficiency

J Ovarian Res. 2021 Dec 8;14(1):172. doi: 10.1186/s13048-021-00923-9.


Purpose: To investigate the relationship between vaginal microbial community structure and premature ovarian insufficiency (POI).

Methods: Twenty-eight women with POI and 12 healthy women were recruited at Shenzhen Maternity and Child Healthcare Hospital between August and September 2020. Blood samples were collected for glucose tests and detection of sex hormone levels and vaginal secretions were collected for microbial group determination. Vaginal microbial community profiles were analysed by 16S rRNA gene sequencing using the Illumina MiSeq system (Illumina Inc., San Diego, CA, USA).

Results: Compared to the controls, the serum levels of follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, testosterone, and the follicle-stimulating hormone/luteinizing hormone ratio, significantly increased, and oestradiol and anti-Müllerian hormone levels significantly decreased in women with POI. Higher weighted UniFrac values were observed in women with POI than in healthy women. Bacteria in the genera Lactobacillus, Brevundimonas, and Odoribacter were more abundant in the microbiomes of healthy women, while the quantity of bacteria in the genus Streptococcus was significantly increased in the microbiomes of women with POI. Moreover, these differences in microbes in women with POI were closely related to follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, oestradiol, and anti-Müllerian hormone levels and to the follicle-stimulating hormone/luteinizing hormone ratio.

Conclusions: Women with POI had altered vaginal microbial profiles compared to healthy controls. The alterations in their microbiomes were associated with serum hormone levels. These results will improve our understanding of the vaginal microbial community structure in women with POI.

Trial registration: CHICTR, ChiCTR2000029576 . Registered 3 August 2020 - Retrospectively registered, .

Keywords: 16S rRNA sequencing; Gonadal steroid hormones; Premature ovarian insufficiency; Vaginal microbiota.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Hormones / blood
  • Humans
  • Microbiota* / genetics
  • Primary Ovarian Insufficiency / blood
  • Primary Ovarian Insufficiency / microbiology*
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S
  • Vagina / microbiology*
  • Young Adult


  • Hormones
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S