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Placental, oral and vaginal microbiomes and birth outcomes in rural Malawi

Doyle, R; (2016) Placental, oral and vaginal microbiomes and birth outcomes in rural Malawi. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Being born too early or being born too small is the largest cause of neonatal mortality in the world. Compared to the rest of the world, Malawi has one of the largest burdens of preterm birth and neonatal stunting, with infection recognised as an important risk factor. Previous studies have used culture and molecular methods to identify bacteria that could be responsible for triggering labour and foetal growth restriction. The composition of the oral and vaginal microbiome has also been linked as the possible source of these bacteria. However, studies up to this point have been small and have not utilised the full potential of current sequencing technologies. In this thesis, I demonstrated using high-throughput sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene that certain organisms are associated with adverse birth outcomes. Contaminating bacterial taxa, PCR and sequencing error can be filtered post-sequencing to allow reliable reconstruction of microbial communities from low biomass samples such as the placenta. This revealed a specific community structure in the placenta and foetal membranes associated with severe chorioamnionitis. Analysis of communities in both matched vaginal and placental samples increased prevalence of Peptostreptococcus anaerobius, Sneathia sanguinegens and Prevotella amnii were associated with a smaller newborn size. These results provide further evidence of the important role the vaginal microbiome may play in seeding organisms found on placental tissues and therapeutic interventions could be designed to impact these communities with the goal of reducing the risk of preterm birth or intrauterine growth restriction.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Placental, oral and vaginal microbiomes and birth outcomes in rural Malawi
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Infection, Immunity and Inflammation Dept
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1475188
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