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The vaginal microbiome during pregnancy and the postpartum period in a European population

MacIntyre, David A., Chandiramani, Manju, Lee, Yun S., Kindinger, Lindsay, Smith, Ann, Angelopoulos, Nicos, Lehne, Benjamin, Arulkumaran, Shankari, Brown, Richard, Teoh, Tiong Ghee, Holmes, Elaine, Nicoholson, Jeremy K., Marchesi, Julian Roberto and Bennett, Phillip R. 2015. The vaginal microbiome during pregnancy and the postpartum period in a European population. Scientific Reports 5 , 8988. 10.1038/srep08988

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The composition and structure of the pregnancy vaginal microbiome may influence susceptibility to adverse pregnancy outcomes. Studies on the pregnant vaginal microbiome have largely been limited to Northern American populations. Using MiSeq sequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons, we characterised the vaginal microbiota of a mixed British cohort of women (n = 42) who experienced uncomplicated term delivery and who were sampled longitudinally throughout pregnancy (8–12, 20–22, 28–30 and 34–36 weeks gestation) and 6 weeks postpartum. We show that vaginal microbiome composition dramatically changes postpartum to become less Lactobacillus spp. dominant with increased alpha-diversity irrespective of the community structure during pregnancy and independent of ethnicity. While the pregnancy vaginal microbiome was characteristically dominated by Lactobacillus spp. and low alpha-diversity, unlike Northern American populations, a significant number of pregnant women this British population had a L. jensenii-dominated microbiome characterised by low alpha-diversity. L. jensenii was predominantly observed in women of Asian and Caucasian ethnicity whereas L. gasseri was absent in samples from Black women. This study reveals new insights into biogeographical and ethnic effects upon the pregnancy and postpartum vaginal microbiome and has important implications for future studies exploring relationships between the vaginal microbiome, host health and pregnancy outcomes.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Systems Immunity Research Institute (SIURI)
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
ISSN: 2045-2322
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 11 February 2015
Last Modified: 06 Aug 2020 13:42

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