The microbiome in reproductive health: protocol for a systems biology approach using a prospective, observational study design.

Krog MC, Madsen ME, Bliddal S, Bashir Z, Vexø LE, Hartwell D, Hugerth LW, Fransson E, Hamsten M, Boulund F, Wannerberger K, Engstrand L, Schuppe-Koistinen I, Nielsen HS

Hum Reprod Open 2022 (2) hoac015 [2022-03-23; online 2022-03-23]

What is the microbiome profile across different body sites in relation to the normal menstrual cycle (with and without hormonal contraception), recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) (before and during pregnancy, pregnancy loss or birth) and endometriosis (before, during and after surgery)? How do these profiles interact with genetics, environmental exposures, immunological and endocrine biomarkers? The microbiome is a key factor influencing human health and disease in areas as diverse as immune functioning, gastrointestinal disease and mental and metabolic disorders. There is mounting evidence to suggest that the reproductive microbiome may be influential in general and reproductive health, fertility and pregnancy outcomes. This is a prospective, longitudinal, observational study using a systems biology approach in three cohorts totalling 920 participants. Since microbiome profiles by shot-gun sequencing have never been investigated in healthy controls during varying phases of the menstrual cycle, patients with RPL and patients with endometriosis, no formal sample size calculation can be performed. The study period is from 2017 to 2024 and allows for longitudinal profiling of study participants to enable deeper understanding of the role of the microbiome and of host-microbe interactions in reproductive health. Participants in each cohort are as follows: Part 1 MiMens-150 healthy women with or without hormonal contraception; Part 2 MiRPL-200 couples with RPL, 50 healthy couples with prior uncomplicated pregnancy and 150 newborns; Part 3 MiEndo-120 patients with endometriosis requiring surgery with or without hormonal treatment. Microbiome profiles from saliva, faeces, rectal mucosa, vaginal fluid and endometrium will be studied, as well as the Omics profile, endocrine disrupting chemicals and endocrine and immune factors in blood, hair, saliva and urine. Pregnancy loss products, seminal microbiome, HLA types, endometriotic tissue and genetic risk and comprehensive questionnaire data will also be studied, where appropriate. Correlations with mental and physical health will be evaluated. This work is supported by funding from Ferring Pharmaceuticals ([#MiHSN01] to H.S.N., M.C.K., M.E.M., L.E.V., L.E., I.S.-K., F.B., L.W.H., E.F. and M.H.), Rigshospitalet's Research Funds ([#E-22614-01 and #E-22614-02] to M.C.K. and [#E-22222-06] to S.B.), Niels and Desiree Yde's Foundation (S.B., endocrine analyses [#2015-2784]), the Musikforlæggerne Agnes and Knut Mørk's Foundation (S.B., endocrine and immune analyses [#35108-001]) and Oda and Hans Svenningsen's Foundation ([#F-22614-08] to H.S.N.). Medical writing assistance with this manuscript was provided by Caroline Loat, PhD, and funded by Ferring Pharmaceuticals. H.S.N. reports personal fees from Ferring Pharmaceuticals, Merck Denmark A/S, Ibsa Nordic, Astra Zeneca and Cook Medical outside the submitted work. K.W. is a full-time employee of Ferring Pharmaceuticals. No other conflicts are reported. N/A. N/A. N/A.

DDLS Fellow

Luisa Hugerth

PubMed 35441092

DOI 10.1093/hropen/hoac015

Crossref 10.1093/hropen/hoac015

pmc: PMC9014536
pii: hoac015

Publications 9.5.0