The Microbiome during the first 1000 days of life

During gestation the female body undergoes hormonal, metabolic, and immunological changes such as an increase in body fat early in pregnancy followed by reduced insulin sensitivity later in gestation. Pregnancy progression is also associated with dramatic alterations in the composition of the gut and vaginal microbiotas. The vaginal microbiota of pregnant women is characterized with a decrease in bacterial diversity which is also seen in the gut microbiota as pregnancy progresses. In the gut, the lower diversity is accompanied by an increase in the relative abundance of Proteobacteria and opportunistic pathogens. Germfree mice inoculated with gut microbiota from pregnant women presented metabolic changes mirroring those of the pregnant women. 

We are now at the point of trying to understand whether these changes in community structure are a cause or consequence of some of the characteristics of pregnancy. It will be interesting to determine whether pregnancy associated microbiota alterations are required for a healthy pregnancy and whether pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes are associated with dysbiosis?

In addition, we are studying how perturbations in infancy, such as use of antibiotics, influence the infant microbiome.


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