by Cristiana Ubaldi
Gemma Fabozzi, Paola Rebuzzini, Danilo Cimadomo, Mariachiara Allori, Marica Franzago, Liborio Stuppia, Silvia Garagna, Filippo Maria Ubaldi, Maurizio Zuccotti and Laura Rienzi
The gut microbiota (GM) is a complex and dynamic population of microorganisms living in the human gastrointestinal tract that play an important role in human health and diseases. Recent evidence suggests a strong direct or indirect correlation between GM and both male and female fertility: on the one hand, GM is involved in the regulation of sex hormone levels and in the preservation of the blood–testis barrier integrity; on the other hand, a dysbiotic GM is linked to the onset of pro-inflammatory conditions such as endometriosis or PCOS, which are often associated with infertility. Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) is one of the main causes of GM dysbiosis, with important consequences to the host health and potential transgenerational effects. This perspective article aims to show that the negative effects of EDCs on reproduction are in part due to a dysbiotic GM. We will highlight (i) the link between GM and male and female fertility; (ii) the mechanisms of interaction between EDCs and GM; and (iii) the importance of the maternal–fetal GM axis for offspring growth and development.