The vaginal microbiome and preterm birth

Jennifer M. Fettweis, Myrna G. Serrano, J. Paul Brooks, David J. Edwards, Philippe H. Girerd, Hardik I. Parikh, Bernice Huang, Tom J. Arodz, Laahirie Edupuganti, Abigail L. Glascock, Jie Xu, Nicole R. Jimenez, Stephany C. Vivadelli, Stephen S. Fong, Nihar U. Sheth, Sophonie Jean, Vladimir Lee, Yahya A. Bokhari, Ana M. Lara, Shreni D. MistryRobert A. Duckworth, Steven P. Bradley, Vishal N. Koparde, X. Valentine Orenda, Sarah H. Milton, Sarah K. Rozycki, Andrey V. Matveyev, Michelle L. Wright, Snehalata V. Huzurbazar, Eugenie M. Jackson, Ekaterina Smirnova, Jonas Korlach, Yu Chih Tsai, Molly R. Dickinson, Jamie L. Brooks, Jennifer I. Drake, Donald O. Chaffin, Amber L. Sexton, Michael G. Gravett, Craig E. Rubens, N. Romesh Wijesooriya, Karen D. Hendricks-Muñoz, Kimberly K. Jefferson, Jerome F. Strauss, Gregory A. Buck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

162 Scopus citations


The incidence of preterm birth exceeds 10% worldwide. There are significant disparities in the frequency of preterm birth among populations within countries, and women of African ancestry disproportionately bear the burden of risk in the United States. In the present study, we report a community resource that includes ‘omics’ data from approximately 12,000 samples as part of the integrative Human Microbiome Project. Longitudinal analyses of 16S ribosomal RNA, metagenomic, metatranscriptomic and cytokine profiles from 45 preterm and 90 term birth controls identified harbingers of preterm birth in this cohort of women predominantly of African ancestry. Women who delivered preterm exhibited significantly lower vaginal levels of Lactobacillus crispatus and higher levels of BVAB1, Sneathia amnii, TM7-H1, a group of Prevotella species and nine additional taxa. The first representative genomes of BVAB1 and TM7-H1 are described. Preterm-birth-associated taxa were correlated with proinflammatory cytokines in vaginal fluid. These findings highlight new opportunities for assessment of the risk of preterm birth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1012-1021
Number of pages10
JournalNature medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'The vaginal microbiome and preterm birth'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this