University of Oulu

Impact of maternal smoking on the development of gut microbiome in infants

Saved in:
Author: Huotari, Taina1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Medicine
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
Pages: 18
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : T. Huotari, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-01-12
Thesis type: Other thesis
Tutor: Tapiainen, Terhi
Paalanne, Niko
Reviewer: Honkila, Minna
Paalanne, Niko


It has recently been suggested that the development of human microbiome may start in the prenatal period. This hypothesis is based on several studies reporting diverse microbiome in the first-pass meconium, the first stool after birth, formed before birth in utero. Earlier, maternal factors, such as maternal overweight, antibiotics and biodiversity of the livening environment during pregnancy have been reported to associate with the microbiome in the first pass meconium. Maternal smoking is a known risk factor for the subsequent health of children. Gut microbiome composition has earlier been associated with several diseases in childhood. In this study, we set out to investigate whether maternal smoking during pregnancy has an impact on the gut microbiome composition in the first pass meconium, developed in the fetal period.

To test this hypothesis, we first made a literature review. PubMed search in November 2019, with the keywords maternal smoking [title] AND microbio* [title], found a single study of the subject. Based on the literature review, in adults, an association between smoking and the changes in gut microbiome have been reported, such as a decrease of abundance of Firmicutes phylum and increase in Bacteroidetes phylum in gut microbiome.

We then investigated 131 first-pass meconium samples with earlier bacterial 16S gene next generation sequencing-based microbiome analysis and maternal smoking status available.

In our study, a cohort of newborn infants, altogether 5 (3.8%) of 131 mothers reported smoking during pregnancy. The relative abundances of Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria phyla were higher and the relative abundance of Firmicutes phylum was lower in those infants exposed to maternal smoking during pregnancy. In addition, the infants exposed to maternal smoking had less diverse gut microbiome and the number of the operational taxonomic units (OTUs) was lower.

Based on the literature review and our preliminary study with meconium samples, we suggest that the association of maternal smoking and microbiome in the first stool should be further evaluated in a larger cohort since maternal smoking may have clinically significant impact on early gut microbiome of newborn infants.

see all

Copyright information: © Taina Huotari, 2021. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.