Term and preterm labour are associated with distinct microbial community structures in placental membranes which are independent of mode of delivery

Placenta. 2014 Dec;35(12):1099-101. doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2014.10.007. Epub 2014 Oct 19.


Infection is considered a possible trigger for preterm labour, supported by evidence showing the presence of bacteria in the placenta and placental membranes from preterm births. In this study, 16S rDNA pyrosequencing was used to identify bacteria in placental membranes. Caesarean sections and vaginal deliveries at term were found to harbour common genera. Mycoplasma hominis, Aerococcus christensenii, Gardnerella vaginalis and Fusobacterium nucleatum were either only present in preterm membranes or in greater abundance than at term. These data support previous studies that used either targeted qPCR or broad-range 16S rDNA PCR and cloning but not a recent microbiome analysis of placental tissue using high-throughput sequencing.

Keywords: 16S rDNA; High-throughput sequencing; Infection; Metagenetics; Placental membranes; Preterm labour.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aerococcus / isolation & purification
  • Delivery, Obstetric
  • Extraembryonic Membranes / microbiology*
  • Female
  • Gardnerella vaginalis / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Mycoplasma hominis / isolation & purification
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature / microbiology*
  • Placenta / microbiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Premature Birth / microbiology*
  • Term Birth*