Microbiome Changes Linked to Prenatal Opioid Exposure


“Physicians prescribe oxycodone, but they don’t have all the data for the implications on the fetus and long-term health,” stated microbiologist Cheryl Rosenfeld, Ph.D., who co-led the examine with bioinformatics scientist Trupti Joshi, Ph.D. “What happens in utero can lead to long-term health consequences.”

Rosenfeld and Joshi hypothesized that developmental publicity to oxycodone would induce intestine dysbiosis—a disruption to the pure stability of micro organism within the intestine—and that these bacterial adjustments might be linked to different alterations beforehand reported in grownup offspring. To search out out, the researchers administered oxycodone to feminine mice within the experimental group beginning two weeks earlier than breeding and persevering with till the delivery of offspring. The quantity of oxycodone, 5 mg per kilogram of physique weight, was calculated to imitate ranges recorded in people with opioid use dysfunction.

The Intestine Microbiome in Infants Uncovered to Opioids

The researchers collected fecal matter from the mouse offspring at 120 days of age and remoted bacterial DNA from the samples. They used 16s rRNA sequencing to determine the bacterial populations in every pattern and bioinformatics instruments to seek out sex-linked variations in bacterial abundances, in addition to variations between the experimental and management teams. Utilizing these instruments in succession, stated Joshi, allowed the researchers to map connections amongst organic methods.


“Bioinformatics really allows you to get in deeper, build more insights and connect the data to the biology,” she stated.

Notably, men and women didn’t reply the identical when their moms had been uncovered to oxycodone. Males uncovered to oxycodone confirmed greater abundances of Coriobacteriaceae, Roseburia spp., Sutterella spp., and Clostridia than these not uncovered to the drug. Females confirmed greater abundance of Butyricimonas spp., Bacteroidetes, Anaeroplasma spp., TM7, Enterococcus spp., and Clostridia. For each sexes, the recognized bacterial adjustments had been related to adjustments in metabolite pathways, which in the end affect a person’s metabolism.

Rosenfeld cautioned that the brand new examine identifies necessary connections between opioid publicity and microbiome adjustments, but it surely would not exhibit causation or elucidate the underlying mechanisms. In future research, she and Joshi plan to proceed utilizing an informatics strategy to raised perceive the microbiome’s function in connecting drug publicity to long-term results. She additionally stated she’d wish to see research investigating whether or not this connection in mice holds in people—and what it means for the well being of infants prenatally uncovered to the medicine.

“We can’t just be thinking of neonates,” she stated. “We need long-term studies on these children.”

Supply: Eurekalert


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