Precocious puberty and microbiota: The role of the sex hormone-gut microbiome axis

Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2022 Oct 21:13:1000919. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2022.1000919. eCollection 2022.


Puberty is a critical phase of life associated with physiological changes related to sexual maturation, and represents a complex process regulated by multiple endocrine and genetic controls. Puberty is driven by hormones, and it can impact the gut microbiome (GM). GM differences between sex emerge at puberty onset, confirming a relationship between microbiota and sex hormones. In this narrative review, we present an overview of precocious pubertal development and the changes in the GM in precocious puberty (PP) in order to consider the role of the sex hormone-gut microbiome axis from the perspective of pediatric endocrinology. Bidirectional interactions between the GM and sex hormones have been proposed in different studies. Although the evidence on the interaction between microbiota and sex hormones remains limited in pediatric patients, the evidence that GM alterations may occur in girls with central precocious puberty (CPP) represents an interesting finding for the prediction and prevention of PP. Deepening the understanding of the connection between the sex hormones and the role of microbiota changes can lead to the implementation of microbiota-targeted therapies in pubertal disorders by offering a pediatric endocrinology perspective.

Keywords: axis; gut; microbioma; precocious puberty (PP); sex hormone.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones
  • Humans
  • Microbiota*
  • Puberty
  • Puberty, Precocious*


  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones