Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Alternations in gut microbiota in pregnancy

Recent studies have shown that maternal gut microbiota in humans primes the offspring's immune and metabolic development during pregnancy and lactation. Due to environmental factors that are impractical to control in human studies, however, much remains unknown around changes in maternal gut microbiota during these stages. A new study published in The FASEB Journal utilized a pig model to enable exploration of maternal gut microbiota change due to pregnancy and lactation.

To rule out the confounding factors in human studies of diet and host genetics, a group of researchers examined fresh fecal samples from two breeds of sows. Based on these samples, they conducted comparative analyses of gut microbiota (including Coriobacteriaceae and Escherichia) and short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) across different stages of gestation, lactation, and non-pregnancy.

Coriobacteriaceae and Escherichia were found to gradually increase over gestational time irrespective of breed, indicating that they are likely associated with the progression of pregnancy. Relative to the gestation and non-pregnancy periods, lactation was associated with an increase in SCFA production in both breeds, suggesting that this phase has a distinct gut microbial structure and higher metabolic activity than the other phases.


Hongbin Liu, Chengli Hou, Ning Li, Xiaoya Zhang, Guolong Zhang, Feiyun Yang, Xiangfang Zeng, Zuohua Liu, Shiyan Qiao. Microbial and metabolic alterations in gut microbiota of sows during pregnancy and lactation. The FASEB Journal, 2019; fj.201801221RR DOI: 10.1096/fj.201801221RR

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology

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