Titanium dioxide nanoparticles (TiO2 NPs) were used worldwide for decades, and pregnant women are unable to avoid exposing to them. Studies revealed that TiO2 NPs could kill many kinds of bacteria, but whether they would affect the composition of gut microbiota, especially during pregnancy, was seldom reported. And, what adverse effects may be brought to pregnant females was also unknown. In this study, we established the prenatal exposure model of rats to explore the effects of TiO2 NPs on gut microbiota. We observed an increasing trend, but not a significant change of alpha-diversity among control and exposure groups at gestation day (GD) 10 and GD 17 during normal pregnancy process. Each different time point had unique gut microbiota operational taxonomic units (OTUs) characteristics. The abundance of Ellin6075 decreased at GD 10 and GD 17, Clostridiales increased at GD 10, and Dehalobacteriaceae decreased at GD 17 after TiO2 NPs exposure. Further phylogenetic investigation of communities by reconstruction of unobserved states (PICRUSt) prediction indicated that the type 2 diabetes mellitus related genes were enhanced, and taurine metabolism was weakened at the second-trimester. Further study showed that the rats' fasting blood glucose levels significantly increased at GD 10 (P < 0.05) and GD 17 (P < 0.01) after exposure. Our study pointed out that TiO2 NPs induced the alteration of gut microbiota during pregnancy and increased the fasting blood glucose of pregnant rats, which might increase the potential risk of gestational diabetes of pregnant women.
Keywords: Gut microbiota; Increased fasting blood glucose; Pregnancy exposure; TiO2 NPs.