The researchers are finding that many of the bacteria found in the placentas cannot be grown in the lab, which has been the gold standard. They are identified through DNA cloning techniques that match the bacteria in the placenta with the bacteria found in the mouth. This DNA fingerprinting allows researchers to trace the origin of the bacteria.
Hans notes that as long as these bacteria stay in the mouth, they cause very little problems. However in the uterus, they stimulate the inflammatory response that leads to cervical and membrane weaknesses and ruptures and uterine contractions.
In several case studies, Han said the mothers did not have a pronounced periodontal disease or periodontitis. The mothers did have a form a pregnancy-associated gingivitis, which resulted from changes in the hormones, and disappears after the birth of the baby.
"The normal healthy woman is under risk," Han said. "People should be concerned about it. This is what the experiment is showing."
She added, "We need to know which bacteria colonize in the placenta and design therapies for better treatments."
These are the kinds of bacteria that are with us all our lives, and only cause disease when the opportunity arises, Han said.
She added, "What is happening with the oral bacteria colonizing in the placenta happens with other diseases that triggers an inflammatory response."
During CWRU Research ShowCASE 2010, Yann Fardini, one of the paper's researchers, received honors for his presentation on the research.
|Contact: Susan Griffith|
Case Western Reserve University