Effects of PM 2.5 exposure during gestation on maternal gut microbiota and pregnancy outcomes

Chemosphere. 2020 May;247:125879. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2020.125879. Epub 2020 Jan 9.


A number of studies have reported that fine particulate matter (PM2.5) exposure is associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. Moreover, PM2.5 exposure contributes to changes of gut microbiota. However, influences of PM2.5 exposure during gestation on maternal gut microbiota and pregnancy outcomes were not well understood. Here we performed a study using mice models. Dams were exposed to PM2.5 suspension by intratracheal instillation on gestational day (GD) 3, 6, 9, 12 and 15. Pregnancy outcomes, maternal gut microbiota and short chain fatty acids on GD 18 were all measured. The fetal body weight of PM2.5 group was significantly lower than that of control group (p < 0.05). Meanwhile, the fetal body length of PM2.5 group was significantly shorter than that of control group (p < 0.05). The Shannon or Simpson index of PM2.5 group were higher than that of control group (p < 0.05). At the phyla level, compared to dams in control group, mice in the PM2.5 group had higher ratio of phyla Proteobacteria, Candidatus Saccharibacteria and Fusobacteria and lower ratio of phyla Acidobacteria, Gemmatimonadetes and Deferribacteres in the gut. Compared with control group, the concentration of isobutyric acid was higher in PM2.5 group, but butyric acid concentration was lower in PM2.5 group (p < 0.05). These findings suggested that prenatal exposure to PM2.5 had an effect on birth weight of fetus. Meanwhile, PM2.5 tracheal exposure during gestation caused changes in the distribution and structure of gut microbiota of dams.

Keywords: Gut microbiota; PM(2.5); Pregnancy outcomes; Short chain fatty acids.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects
  • Air Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Animals
  • Birth Weight
  • Female
  • Fetus / chemistry
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects
  • Maternal Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Mice
  • Particulate Matter / analysis
  • Particulate Matter / toxicity*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome*


  • Air Pollutants
  • Particulate Matter