Infants born to mothers with IBD present with altered gut microbiome
Prenatal and early life bacterial colonisation is thought to play a major role in shaping the immune system.
IBDs, comprising Crohn’s disease (CD) and UC, result from aberrant mucosal immune responses to bacteria in genetically susceptible individuals.1 2 While family history is the strongest risk factor for developing IBD, the genetic loci associated with risk do not fully explain disease heritability.1
IBD affects women during their reproductive years and 25% become pregnant after diagnosis. Some studies have suggested that there may be a higher disease transmission rate from mothers with IBD as compared with fathers.3 4
Dynamic changes in the diversity and abundance of the microbiome have been observed during pregnancy coinciding with adjustments in maternal immunity.5 While this balance is likely more complicated in pregnant women with IBD, it is largely unknown how pregnancy may affect the microbiota of patients with IBD. Moreover, increasing evidence suggests that maternal health status and microbiota during pregnancy may influence the infant’s initial gut colonisation,6 playing a key role in shaping the immune system development.7
Of interest, early life exposures, many of which have an impact on microbiota development, have been linked to the future risk of developing IBD.8–11 However, no information exists on the impact of maternal IBD on the development of the offspring’s gut microbiome. Therefore, we designed a study aimed at characterising the microbiota of pregnant women with and without IBD and of their babies. We then compared the effect of the maternal and infant microbiome on the priming of the immune system of germ-free mice (GFM), a model to study interactions between the microbiome and the nascent immune system.12
Read full study here.