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Centre for Trophoblast Research


Jorge Lopez-Tello, Zoe Schofield, Raymond Kiu, Matthew J. Dalby, Douwe van Sinderen, Gwnaelle Le Gall, Amanda N Sferruzzi-Perri, Lindsay J Hall


The gut microbiota plays a central role in regulating host metabolism. However, while substantial progress has been made in discerning how the microbiota influences host functions post birth and beyond, little has been carried out into understanding how key members of the maternal gut microbiota can influence feto-placental growth. Here, using germ-free and specific-pathogen-free mice, we demonstrate that the bacterium Bifidobacterium breve UCC2003 modulates maternal body adaptations, placental vasculature growth and nutrient transporter capacity, with implications for fetal metabolism and growth. The effects of B. breve UCC2003 on feto-placental growth are mediated, in part, by changes in the maternal and placental metabolome (i.e. acetate and carnitine). Analysis of placental vascular bed confirmed that Bifidobacterium improves fetal capillary elongation via changes in Igf2P0, Dlk1 and Mapk14 expression. Additionally, B. breve UCC2003, acting through Slc2a1 and Fatp3-4 transporters, was shown to restore fetal glycaemia and improve fetal growth in association with changes in the fetal hepatic transcriptome. This study provides knowledge towards a novel and safe therapeutic strategy for treating pregnancy disorders via modulation of the maternal gut microbiota.


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