Reduced Abundance of Nitrate-Reducing Bacteria in the Oral Microbiota of Women with Future Preeclampsia

The oral microbiota can contribute to the regulation of blood pressure by increasing the availability of nitric oxide through the reduction of nitrate to nitrite, which can be converted into nitric oxide in the stomach and then enter the circulation.


It is unclear if the composition of the oral microbiota is different between women who do and do not develop preeclampsia. This study aimed to compare the composition of the buccal microbiota just prior to the development of symptoms at 36 weeks gestation in 12 women who developed late-onset preeclampsia and 24 matched women who remained normotensive throughout pregnancy by 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing.


The abundance of the nitrate-reducing Veillonella spp V. parvula and V. dispar and a subunit of nitrate reductase narH was compared using real-time PCR. The abundance of bacteria was correlated with maternal blood pressure and dietary intake of nitrate-containing vegetables. The results showed that the abundance of nitrate-reducing bacteria including Veillonella, specifically V. parvula, and Prevotella was reduced in women who developed preeclampsia. Veillonella but not Prevotella abundance was negatively correlated with maternal blood pressure.


The dietary intake of nitrate-containing vegetables did not differ between the groups and was not correlated with the abundance of Veillonella. There was no difference in the abundance of the nitrate reductase subunit narH between the groups. These results suggest that the abundance of nitrate-reducing bacteria is reduced in the oral microbiota of women who later develop preeclampsia, indicating a potential pathway for prevention.



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Published: 8 March 2022

Nutrients; DOI: