Bacterial DNA is present in the fetal intestine and overlaps with that in the placenta in mice.

Martinez KA, Romano-Keeler J, Zackular JP, Moore DJ, Brucker RM, Hooper C, Meng S, Brown N, Mallal S, Reese J, Aronoff DM, Shin H, Dominguez-Bello MG, Weitkamp JH
PLoS One. 2018 13 (5): e0197439

PMID: 29771989 · PMCID: PMC5957394 · DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0197439

Bacterial DNA has been reported in the placenta and amniotic fluid by several independent groups of investigators. However, it's taxonomic overlap with fetal and maternal bacterial DNA in different sites has been poorly characterized. Here, we determined the presence of bacterial DNA in the intestines and placentas of fetal mice at gestational day 17 (n = 13). These were compared to newborn intestines (n = 15), maternal sites (mouth, n = 6; vagina, n = 6; colon, n = 7; feces, n = 8), and negative controls to rule out contamination. The V4 region of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene indicated a pattern of bacterial DNA in fetal intestine similar to placenta but with higher phylogenetic diversity than placenta or newborn intestine. Firmicutes were the most frequently assignable phylum. SourceTracker analysis suggested the placenta as the most commonly identifiable origin for fetal bacterial DNA, but also over 75% of fetal gut genera overlapped with maternal oral and vaginal taxa but not with maternal or newborn feces. These data provide evidence for the presence of bacterial DNA in the mouse fetus.

MeSH Terms (11)

Amniotic Fluid Animals DNA, Bacterial Female Intestinal Mucosa Intestines Mice Placenta Pregnancy RNA, Ribosomal, 16S Vagina

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