alexa Maternal Gut Microbes Control Offspring Sex and Surviva
ISSN: 2329-8901

Journal of Probiotics & Health
Open Access

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Research Article

Maternal Gut Microbes Control Offspring Sex and Survival

Yassin M Ibrahim1, Sean M Kearney1,2, Tatiana Levkovich1, Alex Springer1,2, Sheyla Mirabal1, Theofilos Poutahidis1,3, Bernard J Varian1, Jessica R Lakritz1, Eric J Alm2,4 and Susan E Erdman1*
1Division of Comparative Medicine, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
2Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
3Laboratory of Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
4Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
These first authors contributed equally to the preparation of the manuscript
Corresponding Author : Susan Erdman
Division of Comparative Medicine
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
Tel: 617-252-1804
Fax: 508-435-3329
E-mail: [email protected]
Received August 08, 2014; Accepted September 16, 2014; Published September 23, 2014
Citation: Ibrahim YM, Kearney SM, Levkovich T, Springer A, Mirabal S, et al. (2014) Maternal Gut Microbes Control Offspring Sex and Survival. J Prob Health 2:120. doi:10.4172/2329-8901.1000120
Copyright: © 2014 Ibrahim YM, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Sex outcome and maternal investment in progeny are important predictors of reproductive success. While
environmental factors appear to influence these processes, there is little evidence to date of a direct role for gut
commensals. Here we show that the reproductive outcomes (sex and survival) of mouse litters depend on signals
conveyed through the microbiome. We discover that transient treatment of mouse mothers with specific microorganisms
increases the absolute survival of offspring and skews offspring sex ratios via an endocrine-dependent
mechanism requiring the neurophysiological hormone oxytocin. The implication of maternal oxytocin levels suggests
that commensal microbes may have a broad role in modulating host endocrine and neurological pathways


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