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. 2014 May 27;2:18.
doi: 10.1186/2049-2618-2-18. eCollection 2014.

The Vaginal Microbiota of Pregnant Women Who Subsequently Have Spontaneous Preterm Labor and Delivery and Those With a Normal Delivery at Term

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Free PMC article

The Vaginal Microbiota of Pregnant Women Who Subsequently Have Spontaneous Preterm Labor and Delivery and Those With a Normal Delivery at Term

Roberto Romero et al. Microbiome. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Background: This study was undertaken to determine whether the vaginal microbiota of pregnant women who subsequently had a spontaneous preterm delivery is different from that of women who had a term delivery.

Results: This was a nested case-control study of pregnant women who had a term delivery (controls) and those who had a spontaneous preterm delivery before 34 weeks of gestation (cases). Samples of vaginal fluid were collected longitudinally and stored at -70°C until assayed. A microbial survey using pyrosequencing of V1-V3 regions of 16S rRNA genes was performed. We tested the hypothesis of whether the relative abundance of individual microbial species (phylotypes) was different between women who had a term versus preterm delivery. A suite of bioinformatic and statistical tools, including linear mixed effects models and generalized estimating equations, was used. We show that: 1) the composition of the vaginal microbiota during normal pregnancy changed as a function of gestational age, with an increase in the relative abundance of four Lactobacillus spp., and decreased in anaerobe or strict-anaerobe microbial species as pregnancy progressed; 2) no bacterial taxa differed in relative abundance between women who had a spontaneous preterm delivery and those who delivered at term; and 3) no differences in the frequency of the vaginal community state types (CST I, III, IV-B) between women who delivered at term and those who delivered preterm were detected.

Conclusions: The bacterial taxa composition and abundance of vaginal microbial communities, characterized with 16S rRNA gene sequence-based techniques, were not different in pregnant women who subsequently delivered a preterm neonate versus those who delivered at term.

Keywords: Histologic chorioamnionitis; Infection-induced preterm delivery; Prematurity; Vaginal flora; Vaginal microbiome.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Heatmap of microbial taxa relative abundance identified in the vaginal microbiota of women who delivered at term and women who delivered preterm. Ward linkage clustering of samples based on the composition and relative abundance of the 25 most abundant species in the vaginal microbiota that define community state types is shown above the heatmap.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Profiles of community state types for women who delivered at term and women who delivered preterm as a function of the gestational age. Each sample in the longitudinal series was assigned to community state types as defined in Figure 1 and is indicated by a rectangle colored according to the legend shown above. Time of delivery is depicted by a light blue circle.

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