Each woman harbours a unique vaginal microbiota with Lactobacilli typically being the dominant group of bacteria. These bacteria keep the vaginal environment acidic and impair colonization of acid-sensitive yeast, bacteria and viruses in the vagina. Disruption of the vaginal microbiota is associated with enhanced risk of acquiring bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections. Probiotics may represent a novel approach to restore the balance of the vaginal microbiota.

The role of the microbiome in women's fertility is less clear. During pregnancy, the maternal gut microbiome is considered to influence the occurrence of adverse pregnancy, such as preterm birth and cardiometabolic complications of pregnancy, which entails preeclampsia and gestational diabetes, as well as the immunological and metabolic programming of infant's health. Immediately following birth, the infant is seeded by microbes transmitted from the mother's gut, vagina, and breast milk. This establishment of the infant microbiome, further shaped by early nutrition, plays a crucial role in the programming of the immune function in infancy, which is essential in preventing later disease development.

A better understanding of the function of the maternal and infant microbiome, respectively, and its interplay with health will enable the development of novel microbiome-based diagnostics and improved personalized treatment strategies. Strategies currently being explored include personalized diets, prebiotics, food additives, oral and or vaginal administration of probiotics as well as vaginal microbiome transplantation.

The Greater Copenhagen region is home to several industry players including Ferring, BioGaia, Chr. Hansen, Gedea Biotech and Viramal who seek to maintain and improve women and infant health through microbiome-based solutions.

Download and explore the list of research environments and notable recent clinical trials in this area:

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To explore the list of companies involved in this area, try our database here

Examples of publications led by researchers affiliated to the region

Rasmussen et al. (2020) Ecological succession in the vaginal microbiota during pregnancy and birth. The ISME Journal

Haahr et al. (2019) Vaginal Microbiota and In Vitro Fertilization Outcomes: Development of a Simple Diagnostic Tool to Predict Patients at Risk of a Poor Reproductive Outcome. The Journal of Infectious Diseases

Crusell et al. (2018) Gestational Diabetes Is Associated With Change in the Gut Microbiota Composition in Third Trimester of Pregnancy and Postpartum. Microbiome

Jess et al. (2019) Antibiotic Use During Pregnancy and Childhood Overweight: A Population-Based Nationwide Cohort Study. Scientific Reports

Marungruang et al. (2018). Impact of Dietary Induced Precocious Gut Maturation on Cecal Microbiota and Its Relation to the Blood-Brain Barrier During the Postnatal Period in Rats. Neurogastroenterol Motil.

Stokholm et al. (2014) Antibiotic Use During Pregnancy Alters the Commensal Vaginal Microbiota. Clinical Microbiology and Infection

Ottosson et al. (2018). Connection Between BMI-Related Plasma Metabolite Profile and Gut Microbiota. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism

Examples of projects within the segment

COPSAC cohorts - Mother-child cohorts with detailed clinical phenotyping and assessments of genetics, immunology and microbiome.

MILQ - Vitamins and minerals in breast milk and impact on infant development

NEOMUNE - Early milk and microbiota to support immunity, gut and brain development

SKOT cohorts - Impact of early life nutrition nutrition on host physiology and gut microbiome

TEDDY cohort - The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young (TEDDY) study is a multicenter prospective cohort study including a site in Malmö, Sweden