The maternal microbiome is an important regulator of gestational health, but how it affects the placenta as the interface between mother and fetus remains unexplored. Here, we show that the maternal gut microbiota supports placental development in mice.
Depletion of the maternal gut microbiota restricts placental growth and impairs feto-placental vascularization. The maternal gut microbiota modulates metabolites in the maternal and fetal circulation. Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) stimulate cultured endothelial cell tube formation and prevent abnormalities in placental vascularization in microbiota-deficient mice.
Furthermore, in a model of maternal malnutrition, gestational supplementation with SCFAs prevents placental growth restriction and vascular insufficiency. These findings highlight the importance of host-microbial symbioses during pregnancy and reveal that the maternal gut microbiome promotes placental growth and vascularization in mice.
Published: 6 Oct 2023
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Science advances; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.adk1887