Maternal Microbiota Communicates with the Fetus Through Microbiota-Derived Extracellular Vesicles

In a recent study published in Microbiome (BMC by Springer), Anna Kaisanlahti and her team from the University of Oulu, Finland investigated the role of extracellular vesicles in the interaction between gut bacteria and the fetus.

Prior research on bacteria in the fetal environment has been limited and contentious. However, recent discoveries suggest that extracellular vesicles may serve as a novel mechanism for this interaction.

Dr. Kaisanlahti and her team aimed to investigate the presence of bacterial extracellular vesicles during healthy pregnancies and their potential to cross biological barriers to reach the fetus.

The study revealed bacterial extracellular vesicles in the amniotic fluid of healthy pregnant women, resembling those found in the maternal gut microbiota. Moreover, experiments on pregnant mice demonstrated the ability of extracellular vesicles from the maternal gut microbiota to access the intra-amniotic space.

In conclusion, these findings shed light on a previously unrecognized mode of communication between maternal microbiota and the fetus, possibly influencing the prenatal immune system’s preparation for gut colonization post-birth.

Article DOI.

Media Credit: Video Abstract, Kaisanlahti, A., Turunen, J., Byts, N. et al.  Microbiome11, 249 (2023).


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