Pregnancy has a beneficial influence on the course of certain autoimmune diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It was recently reported that during pregnancy the microbiome undergoes profound changes that are associated with host physiological and immunological adaptations. Here we propose that microbiome remodeling during pregnancy is an active response of the mother, possibly to alter immune system status, and to facilitate metabolic and immunological adaptations that are needed for a successful pregnancy. Furthermore, these changes in the microbiome may ensure the transfer of specific traits into the neonatal gut. As the underlying mechanisms are not well understood, elucidating how pregnancy-related changes in the microbiome influence IBD would be of obvious value for designing rational therapy.

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Trends in Molecular Medicine
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Konstantinov, S., van der Woude, J., & Peppelenbosch, M. (2013). Do pregnancy-related changes in the microbiome stimulate innate immunity?. Trends in Molecular Medicine (Vol. 19, pp. 454–459). doi:10.1016/j.molmed.2013.06.002