Culturomics to Investigate the Endometrial Microbiome: Proof-of-Concept

Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Oct 13;23(20):12212. doi: 10.3390/ijms232012212.


The microbiome of the reproductive tract has been associated with (sub)fertility and it has been suggested that dysbiosis reduces success rates and pregnancy outcomes. The endometrial microbiome is of particular interest given the potential impact on the embryo implantation. To date, all endometrial microbiome studies have applied a metagenomics approach. A sequencing-based technique, however, has its limitations, more specifically in adequately exploring low-biomass settings, such as intra-uterine/endometrial samples. In this proof-of-concept study, we demonstrate the applicability of culturomics, a high-throughput culturing approach, to investigate the endometrial microbiome. Ten subfertile women undergoing diagnostic hysteroscopy and endometrial biopsy, as part of their routine work-up at Brussels IVF, were included after their informed consent. Biopsies were used to culture microbiota for up to 30 days in multiple aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Subsequent WASPLab®-assisted culturomics enabled a standardized methodology. Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) or 16S rRNA sequencing was applied to identify all of bacterial and fungal isolates. Eighty-three bacterial and two fungal species were identified. The detected species were in concordance with previously published metagenomics-based endometrial microbiota analyses as 77 (91%) of them belonged to previously described genera. Nevertheless, highlighting the added value of culturomics to identify most isolates at the species level, 53 (62.4%) of the identified species were described in the endometrial microbiota for the first time. This study shows the applicability and added value of WASPLab®-assisted culturomics to investigate the low biomass endometrial microbiome at a species level.

PMID:36293066 | DOI:10.3390/ijms232012212


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