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Cambridge Reproduction


Pregnancy complications can lead to high maternal and fetal mortality and morbidity and increased risk of the offspring developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases in adulthood. Microorganisms (microbiome) residing in the mother’s gut can consume nutrients that are important to the mother and the fetus to produce substances that are potentially toxic or beneficial to the mother and the fetus.

The effects of the maternal gut microbiota and their metabolites on the maternal-placental-fetal unit are poorly understood. I aim to provide insights into the mechanisms through which metabolites produced by the maternal gut microbiota act as signals and regulate key processes involved in placental function and development, to highlight important microbial products that may be used as novel tools for screening, preventing, and possibly treating pregnancy complications.