Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is a toxic component of the cell walls of certain types of bacteria and is widely present in the digestive tracts of animals. Humans are normally exposed to a low concentration of LPS due to the presence of these bacteria.
Exposing pregnant mice to LPS at various stages of gestation has been shown to result in multiple adverse outcomes during pregnancy, including neural tube defects. Neural tube defects (NTDs) are birth defects of brain, spine, or spinal cord that develop in the first month of pregnancy. NTDs are one of the most common birth defects in the world, with 300,000 newborns affected globally each year.