The intestine and the microbiota in maternal glucose homeostasis during pregnancy Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • It is now well established that, beyond its role in nutrient processing and absorption, the intestine and its accompanying gut microbiome constitute a major site of immunological and endocrine regulation that mediates whole-body metabolism. Despite the growing field of host-microbe research, few studies explore what mechanisms govern this relationship in the context of pregnancy. During pregnancy, significant maternal metabolic adaptations are made to accommodate the additional energy demands of the developing fetus and to prevent adverse pregnancy outcomes. Recent data suggest that the maternal gut microbiota may play a role in these adaptations, but changes to maternal gut physiology and the underlying intestinal mechanisms remain unclear. In this review, we discuss selective aspects of intestinal physiology including the role of the incretin hormone, glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), and the role of the maternal gut microbiome in the maternal metabolic adaptations to pregnancy. Specifically, we discuss how bacterial components and metabolites could mediate the effects of the microbiota on host physiology, including nutrient absorption and GLP-1 secretion and action, and whether these mechanisms may change maternal insulin sensitivity and secretion during pregnancy. Finally, we discuss how these pathways could be altered in disease states during pregnancy including maternal obesity and diabetes.

publication date

  • April 1, 2022