Are reproductive tract infections a challenge for women’s health?

Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers in women. In 2020, more than 600,000 cases and 340,000 deaths have been reported worldwide.

Researchers at Arizona State University are hoping to understand the factors that lead to persistent HPV infection to cancer, by studying the complex communities of bacteria in a woman’s reproductive tract, known as vaginal microbiota.

Recent studies have explored the relationship of vaginal microbiota with cervical cancer, although the viral component is often overlooked. Viruses interact with both human cells and large amounts of bacteria in the genital tract.

“Microbiology maintains a delicate balance in our bodies to promote health,” said Efrem Lim, a researcher at the Asu Center for Biodesign in basic and applied microbiology.

New research uses next-generation gene sequencing to better understand the viral community present in vaginal microbiota samples from women in the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area.

The results suggest an association between genitourinary inflammation and low abundance of Lactobacillus species with reduced virome diversity. Lactobacillus bacteria are known to be important mediators of genital health.

Furthermore, conditions conducive to persistent HPV infection are also associated with an abundance of a group of viruses that infect bacteria known as bacteriophages.

Source: Medindia

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