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Longevity Briefs: Maternal microbiome plays an important role in fetal neurodevelopment

Posted on 28 September 2020

Studies in mice give clues to combatting changes in aging muscle stem cells
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Longevity briefs provides a short summary of a novel research, medicine, or technology that caught the attention of our researchers in Oxford, due to its potential to improve our health, wellbeing, and longevity.

Why is this research important: Microbiome in our intestines plays an important role in neurodevelopment. It was shown by previous research, where mice devoid of gut microbiota had behaved oddly, comparing to the control group. However, restoration of gut microbiota in those mice did not always correct their behaviour, which means that maternal gestational microbiome is involved. It is highly probable that there are similar mechanisms in human pregnancy and a better understanding of them, may improve quality of life.

What did the researchers do: In this article, researches have analyzed fetal brains and gene expression, whose mothers were depleted of gut microbiota. They also have studied metabolites (such as trimethylamine-N-oxide) in maternal blood that are affected by the gut microbiome and how it impacts fetal neurodevelopment.

Key takeaway(s) from this research: Maternal gut microbiota in mice regulates specific metabolites in both mother and fetus. Some of those metabolites promote brain development. Alteration in maternal microbiome results in reduced brain matter in their offspring. It is still unclear whether similar mechanisms take place in human pregnancy, although studies in malnourished children and maternal usage of antibiotics have shown neurodevelopmental complications.

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