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Braz J Microbiol. 2020 Mar;51(1):151-159. doi: 10.1007/s42770-019-00118-x. Epub 2019 Jul 22.

Defining microbial biomarkers for risk of preterm labor.

Author information

1
Centro Interdisciplinar de Pesquisas em Biotecnologia - CIP-Biotec, Campus São Gabriel, Universidade Federal do Pampa, São Gabriel, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.
2
Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health and Health Professions and College of Medicine, Emerging Pathogens Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 32611, USA.
3
Serviço de Neonatologia do Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.
4
Centro Interdisciplinar de Pesquisas em Biotecnologia - CIP-Biotec, Campus São Gabriel, Universidade Federal do Pampa, São Gabriel, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. luizroesch@unipampa.edu.br.

Abstract

Preterm birth remains the main contributor to early childhood mortality. The vaginal environment, including microbiota composition, might contribute to the risk of preterm delivery. Alterations in the vaginal microbial community structure might represent a risk factor for preterm birth. Here, we aimed to (a) investigate the association between preterm birth and the vaginal microbial community and (b) identify microbial biomarkers for risk of preterm birth. Microbial DNA was isolated from vaginal swabs in a cohort of 69 women enrolled at hospital admission for their delivery. Microbiota was analyzed by high-throughput 16S rRNA sequencing. While no differences in microbial diversity measures appeared associated with the spontaneous preterm and full-term outcomes, the microbial composition was distinct for these groups. Differential abundance analysis showed Lactobacillus species to be associated with full-term birth whereas an unknown Prevotella species was more abundant in the spontaneous preterm group. Although we studied a very miscegenated population from Brazil, our findings were similar to evidence pointed by other studies in different countries. The role of Lactobacillus species as a protector in the vaginal microbiome is demonstrated to be also a protector of spontaneous preterm outcome whereas the presence of pathogenic species, such as Prevotella spp., is endorsed as a factor of risk for spontaneous preterm delivery.

KEYWORDS:

Brazilian microbiome; Lactobacillus; Next-generation sequencing; Vaginal microbiome

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