A concise review (NJEM 2014; 371: 2526-28) quickly describes the latest science on microbiota, antibiotics, and obesity chiefly by summarizing the work of Cox LM et al (Cell 2014; 158: 705-21).
- In mice, studies have shown that low-dose penicillin in early life induces marked effects on body composition (eg. excessive weight gain) lasting into adulthood
- Prenatally administered penicillin to the mother and high-fat diet also induced fat mass of male mice.
- Gut microbiota transferred from penicillin-moderated flora mice (at 18 weeks) into the cecums of 3-week-old germ-free mice also resulted in excessive fat mass compared to controls who received gut microbiota transfer from control mice (who did not receive penicillin).
- “These results suggest that immunologic and metabolic changes are not caused by direct effects of antibiotics but rather by derived changes in the gut microbiota.”
- “It may even be speculated that in families in which obesity is a problem, specific antibiotic treatment at birth could reverse the adverse effect of obesogenic microbiota transferred from mother to infant during delivery.”
Take-home message: Understanding the microbes in our bodies may lead to much more than curing intestinal infections and intestinal maladies.
Related blog posts:
- Could antibiotics make you fat? | gutsandgrowth
- Microbiome and the risk of Kwashiokor | gutsandgrowth
- Basic Science Year in Review –#NASPGHAN 2014 …