The vaginal microbiome composition: a potential marker to predict adverse pregnancy outcomes
Souhaila Al Khodor1*, Manoj Kumar1, Selvasankar Murugesan1, Parul Singh1, Shaikha Alabduljabbar1, Arun Prasath Lakshmanan1, Dhinoth Kumar Bangarusamy1, Annalisa Terranegra1, Alexandra K. Marr1, Basirudeen Syed Ahamed Kabeer1, Tomoshige Kino1, Damien Chaussabel1, Tobias Brummaier,2 Francois Nosten2, Rose McGready2 1Translational Medicine Division, Sidra Medicine, Doha, Qatar; 2Shoklo Malaria Research Unit (SMRU), Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Mae Sot, Thailand *email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Background: Pre-term birth (PTB) occurs before 37 weeks of gestation and is considered a leading cause for neonatal mortality and morbidity, usually affecting around 8% of newborns. Identifying biomarkers that are associated with PTB can help physicians design the most effective targeted intervention for those women at risk, reducing therefore the mortality rates and the cost associated with hospitalization of preterm born babies. Recent studies indicated some correlation between pre/full-term delivery and the vaginal microbiome composition in pregnant women.
Objectives: In this study, we aim to investigate whether changes in the vaginal microbiome composition of pregnant women can predict pregnancy outcomes. This study is part of a wider project aiming to identify biomarker signatures predictive of PTB using a multi-omics approach among which saliva microbiome, blood transcriptomics, placenta epigenetics, along with the effect of diet on maternal and infant gut microbiome profiles, will not be discussed in this abstract.
Methods: Four hundred first trimester pregnant women from either Myanmar or Thailand of either Karen or Burman ethnicity, with a viable, singleton pregnancy without any medical or obstetric complications are enrolled in this study. Vaginal swabs are collected at each trimester, on delivery and post-partum collected at 1 and 3 months post-delivery. A Nugent score for all samples will be calculated. The second swab will be used for microbial DNA extraction in order to assess the vaginal microbiome composition. The microbiome will be analyzed by 16S rRNA gene sequencing on the Illumina MiSeq platform. Data analysis will focus on identifying vaginal microbiome changes/dynamics during the course of pregnancy and comparing between mothers giving birth to preterm and term neonates. We will correlate the Nugent score obtained with the microbial signature at each time point. Any significant deviations from the “healthy” vaginal microbiome composition (microbial signatures) that may precede or coincide with PTB will be considered as possible biomarkers that warrant future studies.