Altered microbiome may prompt fat gain later
L.M. Cox and Sungheon G. Kim
Antibiotics given to infants may have life-long consequences, a study of mice suggests.
Low doses of antibiotics given to pregnant mice and to their newborns led baby mice to become obese as adults, researchers report August 14 in Cell. The effect was not due to the drugs themselves but to the disruption of the rodents’ gut microbiome, the community of microbes living in the mice’s intestines.
“We’re using antibiotics as if there were no cost,” says microbiologist Martin Blaser of New York University, who led the study. “The costs are not immediate but may be long-term.”
Blaser’s team has previously found that antibiotics alter the microbiome and that those changes can lead to inflammation and promote weight gain in animals. In the new study, the researchers wanted to find out what happens if a baby takes antibiotics when the microbiome is