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Keywords:

  • Enterococcus faecalis ;
  • fetus;
  • intestinal barrier function;
  • pregnancy;
  • translocation

Abstract

Pregnant mothers are susceptible to bacterial infections, which may compromise the health of mothers and offspring. Enterococcus faecalis is a ubiquitous species found in food, restaurants, and hospitals where pregnant woman frequently become exposed to this bacterium. However, the survival, distribution, translocation, and corresponding influence of E. faecalis have not been investigated during the pregnancy period, when the mother and fetus are susceptible to bacterial infection. In this study, a fluorescing E. faecalis strain was used to track the fate of the bacterium in pregnant mice. Orally administered E. faecalis were found to survive and disseminate to all regions of the intestinal tract. It also altered the bacterial community structure by significantly decreasing the diversity of Lactobacillus species, impairing the normal structure and function of the intestinal barrier, which may contribute to the bacterial translocation into the blood, spleen, placenta, and fetus. This may affect fetal and placental growth and development.