Cadmium (Cd) is a major environmental stressor that induces fetal growth restriction (FGR). Also, changes in gut microbiome diversity-which can be modulated positively by melatonin (Mel) have implications on fetal development and placental functions. Therefore, this study aimed to explore whether the role of Mel in counteracting the Cd-induced FGR by regulating placental barrier injury, endoplasmic reticulum stress (ERS) and mitophagy in pregnant mice is mediated-in part- via the gut microbiota modulations. Pregnant mice were intraperitoneally injected with CdCl2 (5 mg/kg) and Mel (5 mg/kg) once daily, respectively, at the same time from gestational day (GD) 8 to GD18, and then the maternal colon and placental tissues were collected for detection. To investigate the inner relationship between intestinal flora and the protection of Mel on FGR caused by Cd, gut microbiota transplantation (GMT) was carried out from GD0 to GD18 after the removal of intestinal microbiota by antibiotics. Results indicated that Mel relieved barrier injury, ERS and mitophagy in the placenta, and reversed the maternal gut microbiota dysbiosis. The GMT approach suggested a role of intestinal microbiota in placental barrier injury, ERS and mitophagy induced by Cd. Overall, the results highlighted that the intestinal microbiota and gut-placental axis play a central role in the protective effect of Mel against Cd-induced FGR.
- Fetal growth restriction
- Gut microbiota
- Gut-placenta axis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis