By Rodney Dietert, PhD
Hi Everyone. Welcome to the Microbiome Minute with your host…..me, Rodney Dietert, Professor Emeritus, Cornell University, and author of The Human Superorganism. For about a minute of your time each week, I will share the latest microbiome research and most importantly, why it matters for your better health. Learn a little micro lingo, impress your friends, and most importantly, better connect with your body’s microbial partners. They have been patiently waiting for your undivided attention
'Cooperation between the vaginal microbiome and local immune cells is vitally important in successful pregnancies. Karen Grewal led a research team from London (Imperial College), Bristol, and Warwick in a study comparing both the vaginal microbiome and the local immune environment among chromosomally-normal, viable term vs. miscarriage pregnancies as well as vs. chromosomally-abnormal miscarriages. Friendly lactobacilli bacteria are predominant in a healthy vagina. When these are depleted, the pH increases, pathogens can take over, and problems usually occur (e.g., bacterial vaginosis).
These researchers found that chromosomally-normal spontaneous miscarriages were associated with depleted lactobaccili, increased bacterial pathogens, and increased vaginal inflammation (based on specific cytokine levels) compared with viable pregnancies. Chromosomally-abnormal miscarriages seemed to involve a different process.
What you need to know
The take-home message is: monitoring/management of the vaginal microbiome (e.g., lactobaccilli predominance) throughout the pregnancy is critical to
1) keep pathogens minimized,
2) avoid problematic inflammation at the maternal-fetal interface and
3) minimize the risk of miscarriage.