Bacteria may transfer mom's stress to fetus

Bacteria may transfer mom's stress to fetus

Expecting mice under pressure passed altered microbes to their pups, affecting the babies’ brains

By Laura Sanders, 17:58 PM November 12, 2013

SAN DIEGO — When stress during pregnancy disrupts a growing baby’s brain, blame bacteria. Microbes take part in an elaborate chain reaction, a new study finds: First, stress changes the populations of bacteria dwelling in a pregnant mouse’s vagina; those changes then affect which bacteria colonize a newborn pup’s gut; and the altered gut bacteria change the newborn’s brain.

The research, presented at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting, may help explain how a stressful environment early...

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