Re-filtered rat researchers have found that a species of gut bacteria, known to have beneficial health effects in mice and humans, changes the mother’s body during pregnancy and affects the immune system. affect the structure of the placenta and the transport of nutrients, affecting the developing fetus.
Bacteria, Bifidobacterium breveis widely used as a probiotic, so this study could point to ways to combat pregnancy complications and ensure a healthy start into the population’s life.
Microbiology in our gutcollectively known as gut microbiotais known to play an important role in maintaining health, by fighting infections, affecting the host body’s immune system and metabolism.
They achieve these beneficial effects by breaking down the foods in our diet and releasing active metabolites that affect cells and body processes.
Scientists are now beginning to identify these metabolism-mediated interactions between the microbiome and the body from birth to see how they affect the aging process, but so far there is still more work to do. Very little is known about these effects on fetal development and the health of the baby before birth.
The developing fetus receives nutrients and metabolites from its mother, but to what extent are those metabolites affected by the mother’s microbiome, and this affects pregnancy how, has yet to be discovered.
To solve this problem, the team analyzed how to add Bifidobacterium breve pregnancy was affected in rats.
Professor Lindsay Hall, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School and the Quadram Institute, studied Bifidobacterium and the early life microbiome, have previously shown how providing specific probiotics can help premature babies.
These bacteria increase in numbers in the microbiota during pregnancy in humans and mice, and changes in their levels are associated with pregnancy complications.
Professor Hall said: “Our findings reveal that Maternal microbiota promotes placental growth and fetal growth.
“We think this has to do with conformational changes of metabolites and nutrients, which affect the transport of nutrients from mother to child across the placenta. What’s interesting is that supplementation probiotic supplement Bifidobacterium during pregnancy can help strengthen the function of the placenta, which has a positive effect on the development of the baby in utero. “
Dr. Amanda Sferruzzi-Perri, from the University of Cambridge, said: “Gynecomastia affects around one in 10 pregnant women. This is worrisome because pregnancy complications can lead to problems. health for mother and child even after pregnancy.
“This study, conducted in mice, identifies a new factor in communication between the mother, the placenta, and the fetus, which is the mother’s microbiome. Learn how this form of communication works and Improving it could help many women with pregnancy complications, as well as their developing baby.
The “pathogen-free” mice can be bred without any microbiota, allowing comparisons with other mice with a “normal” microbiome. These comparisons provide valuable insights into the role of the microbiome in health, and such studies cannot be performed in humans.
In this study, funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, they also looked at the effects of giving probiotics to germ-free mice. Bifidobacterium breve.
Their findings are published in the journal Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences and showed that the maternal gut microbiota and Bifidobacterium breve In particular, has a role in regulating fetal development and metabolism.
In germ-free mice, fetuses do not receive enough sugar and cannot grow and develop normally. It’s fun, providing Bifidobacterium breve to germ-free mice improved fetal outcomes by restoring fetal metabolism, growth and development to normal levels.
Lack of maternal microbiota also interferes with placental development in a way that may affect fetal development, and more detailed analysis has identified several cellular growth and metabolism factors. Important metabolism seems to be regulated by the microbiome and Bifidobacterium breve.
Dr Lopez-Tello said: “The placenta is a neglected organ even though it is very important for the development and survival of the fetus. from Cambridge University.
The researchers also found that the microbiota that affects important nutrient transporters, including those that produce sugars in the placenta, also affects fetal development.
These findings are strong indicators of the link between a mother’s microbiome and baby’s development, but in the first study of its kind there are limitations.
This study focused on a single species of bacteria and while this shows Bifidobacterium breve had positive effects on germ-free mice during pregnancy, which is not a natural situation. Future studies are needed to confirm these effects in a more complex and natural microbiome.
The study was done in mice and cannot automatically translate into a treatment for humans. The knowledge provided in this proof-of-concept animal study is important for guiding future studies in humans to explore whether the human maternal microbiome has similar effects. are not.
Certainly, if so, it could provide a relatively simple and low-cost way to help improve pregnancy outcomes with positive benefits for the long-term health of the mother and her baby. .