Nav: Home

Antibiotics disrupt infants' gut microbiome, studies suggest

June 15, 2016

Two new studies of more than 80 infants together offer a clearer picture of how antibiotics, along with birth mode and diet, can disrupt the development of the gut microbiome. Children repeatedly treated with antibiotics during the first few years of life not only showed lower microbial diversity, but also harbored antibiotic resistance genes, temporarily, after treatment. Further studies are needed to probe the long-term consequences of these gut microbiome disturbances, which have previously been linked to obesity, diabetes, asthma, and to allergies later in life. The community of bugs that resides in our intestines plays a critical role in regulating the body's metabolism and immune defenses. However, how the gut microbiome develops during early childhood is not fully understood. Less still is known about how the infant microbiome responds to and recovers from environmental perturbations, including those from antibiotic treatment, cesarean section (versus vaginal delivery), and formula feeding (compared to breast-feeding). Antibiotic treatment among children is routine in most parts of the world, with the average American child receiving three courses of antibiotics by age two. To gain more insights into the possible consequences, Nicholas Bokulich and colleagues tracked the microbial development of 43 U.S. infants for two years after birth, collecting their stool samples as well as additional samples from their mothers before and after birth. They found that antibiotics, cesarean delivery, and formula feeding can delay infants' microbiome development and reduce bacterial diversity. The mother's own microbiota, which is known to populate the infant gut during passage through the birth canal, may also influence the healthy development of the infant's microbiota, as may breast-feeding and skin contact.

In a second study analyzing stool samples collected from 39 children over three years, Moran Yassour and colleagues also found that repeated antibiotic treatment reduced gut microbial diversity and even led to a transient rise in antibiotic resistance genes. In the first few months of life, all infants born by cesarean section and, unexpectedly, about 20% of those born by vaginal delivery lacked Bacteroides, bacteria known to help regulate intestinal immunity, suggesting that birth mode and other factors can strongly influence bacterial diversity. Antibiotic-treated children also had less diverse and less stable microbiota at the level of both species and strain. Furthermore, the researchers detected antibiotic resistance genes that rapidly peaked in abundance following antibiotic treatment, before sharply declining. Interestingly, for reasons not fully understood, some infants as young as two months old harbored antibiotic resistance genes, even without any exposure to antibiotics. In related audio files, authors Yassour and Ramnik Xavier highlight the findings' public health implications for infants and children who are routinely treated with antibiotics.
-end-


American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Antibiotics Articles:

Antibiotics promote resistance on experimental croplands
Canadian researchers have generated both novel and existing antibiotic resistance mechanisms on experimental farmland, by exposing the soil to specific antibiotics.
Why antibiotics fail
UCSB biologists correct a flaw in the way bacterial susceptibility to these drugs is tested.
Fungi have enormous potential for new antibiotics
Fungi are a potential goldmine for the production of pharmaceuticals.
Antibiotics can boost bacterial reproduction
The growth of bacteria can be stimulated by antibiotics, scientists at the University of Exeter have discovered.
Last-line antibiotics are failing
The ECDC's latest data on antimicrobial resistance and consumption shows that in 2015, antibiotic resistance continued to increase for most bacteria and antibiotics under surveillance.
Two antibiotics fight bacteria differently than thought
Two widely prescribed antibiotics -- chloramphenicol and linezolid -- may fight bacteria in a different way from what scientists and doctors thought for years, University of Illinois at Chicago researchers have found.
Preserving the power of antibiotics
News release describes efforts to address inappropriate antibiotic prescribing in emergency departments and urgent-care centers nationwide, which a JAMA study published this past May found rates as high as 50 percent for acute respiratory infections in US emergency departments.
Antibiotics could be cut by up to one-third, say dairy farmers
Nine in 10 dairy farmers participating in a new survey from the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RADBF) say that the farming industry must take a proactive lead in the battle against antibiotic resistance.
Antibiotics may be inappropriate for uncomplicated diverticulitis
Antibiotics are advised in most guidelines on diverticulitis, which arises when one or more small pouches in the digestive tract become inflamed or infected.
New book on Antibiotics and Antibiotic Resistance from CSHLPress
'Antibiotics and Antibiotic Resistance' from CSHLPress examines the major classes of antibiotics, together with their modes of action and mechanisms of resistance.

Related Antibiotics Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Digital Manipulation
Technology has reshaped our lives in amazing ways. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers reveal how what we see, read, believe — even how we vote — can be manipulated by the technology we use. Guests include journalist Carole Cadwalladr, consumer advocate Finn Myrstad, writer and marketing professor Scott Galloway, behavioral designer Nir Eyal, and computer graphics researcher Doug Roble.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#529 Do You Really Want to Find Out Who's Your Daddy?
At least some of you by now have probably spit into a tube and mailed it off to find out who your closest relatives are, where you might be from, and what terrible diseases might await you. But what exactly did you find out? And what did you give away? In this live panel at Awesome Con we bring in science writer Tina Saey to talk about all her DNA testing, and bioethicist Debra Mathews, to determine whether Tina should have done it at all. Related links: What FamilyTreeDNA sharing genetic data with police means for you Crime solvers embraced...