A study recently published in Cell (August 3rd, 2012) monitored 91 pregnant women to characterise more precisely the evolution of gut microbiota composition during pregnancy. Researchers found that the composition of the gut microbiota changes dramatically. They compared stool samples from the 1st and 3rd trimesters and were able to describe an evolution leading towards greater inflammation and energy loss. Those observations were confirmed by the transplant of microbiota of germ-free mice.
The preterm gut microbiome is a complex dynamic community influenced by genetic and environmental factors and is implicated in the pathogenesis of necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) and sepsis. We aimed to explore the longitudinal development of the gut microbiome in preterm twins to determine how shared environmental and genetic factors may influence temporal changes and compared this to the expressed breast milk (EBM) microbiome. Stool samples (n = 173) from 27 infants (12 twin pairs and 1 triplet set) and EBM (n = 18) from 4 mothers were collected longitudinally. All samples underwent PCR-DGGE (denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis) analysis and a selected subset underwent 454 pyrosequencing. Stool and EBM shared a core microbiome dominated by Enterobacteriaceae, Enterococcaceae, and Staphylococcaceae. The gut microbiome showed greater similarity between siblings compared to unrelated individuals. Pyrosequencing revealed a reduction in diversity and increasing dominance of Escherichia sp. preceding NEC that was not observed in the healthy twin. Antibiotic treatment had a substantial effect on the gut microbiome, reducing Escherichia sp. and increasing other Enterobacteriaceae.
This study demonstrates related preterm twins share similar gut microbiome development, even within the complex environment of neonatal intensive care. This is likely a result of shared genetic and immunomodulatory factors as well as exposure to the same maternal microbiome during birth, skin contact and exposure to EBM. Environmental factors including antibiotic exposure and feeding are additional significant determinants of community structure, regardless of host genetics.
Background: The gut microbiota is essential to human health throughout life, yet the acquisition and development of this microbial community during infancy remains poorly understood. Meanwhile, there is increasing concern over rising rates of cesarean delivery and insufficient exclusive breastfeeding of infants in developed countries. In this article, we characterize the gut microbiota of healthy Canadian infants and describe the influence of cesarean delivery and formula feeding.
Methods: We included a subset of 24 term infants from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) birth cohort. Mode of delivery was obtained from medical records, and mothers were asked to report on infant diet and medication use. Fecal samples were collected at 4 months of age, and we characterized the microbiota composition using high-throughput DNA sequencing.
Results: We observed high variability in the profiles of fecal microbiota among the infants. The profiles were generally dominated by Actinobacteria (mainly the genus Bifidobacterium) and Firmicutes (with diverse representation from numerous genera). Compared with breastfed infants, formula-fed infants had increased richness of species, with overrepresentation of Clostridium difficile. Escherichia-Shigella and Bacteroides species were underrepresented in infants born by cesarean delivery. Infants born by elective cesarean delivery had particularly low bacterial richness and diversity.
Interpretation: These findings advance our understanding of the gut microbiota in healthy infants. They also provide new evidence for the effects of delivery mode and infant diet as determinants of this essential microbial community in early life.
There was an interesting study published recently that addresses the changes that occur to gut bacteria in pregnant women and the role this fulfills in maintaining a healthy pregnancy.There are two primary points that need to be addressed in order to"
Women's gut microbe populations change as pregnancy advances, becoming more like those of people who might develop diabetes. These changes, which do not seem to damage maternal health, correspond with increases in blood glucose and fat deposition thought to help a mother nourish her child. Although scientists have profiled microbial communities around the world and throughout the human body, this is the first time they have tracked the gut microbiome during pregnancy, says Ruth Ley, a microbiologist at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, who led the work.
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