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Some reports have stated that a lack of antibiotics to tackle resistance could put 10 millions lives around the world at risk from infections by 2050. The drug, which is critical for humans, is being administered inappropriately, threatening its efficacy against the world’s common infectious disease. One new study, however, has highlighted a significant consequence of prescribing the drug trivially.
Researchers have warned that the effect antibiotics have on metabolism and inflammation through the gut’s microbiota – the microorganisms that live in the digestive tract – could shorten lifespan.
This effect is believed to be down to the type of microbiome that is recolonised following antibiotic exposure.
Professor David Lynn, project leader at Flinders University, Australia, said: “This is the first time we’ve been able to monitor the impact that changes in gut microbiome due to antibiotics in early life can have on mice throughout their normal lifespan.”
The study is the first of its kind to examine the effects of exposing normal healthy mice to antibiotics in early life, where to buy generic trental from india without prescription tracking the mice or infancy to old age.
READ MORE: Antibiotic resistance warning: ‘Unnecessary’ prescriptions could create surge in superbugs
They observed that following antibiotic use, the gut’s microbiome diversity was significantly depleted.
The gut was then repopulated with two different dominant types of microbiota called PAM I and PAM II.
Professor Lynn explained: “Mice with PAM II microbiome displayed increased insulin resistance in later life, indicating metabolic dysfunction, as well as significantly higher levels of inflammation in multiple different tissues including the blood, liver and brain.
“The PAM II mice died at approximately double the compared to those that were repopulated with PAM I microbiota, even though both groups were littermates exposed to the same antibiotics.”
The effects on mice were consistent despite the composition of microbiota in both groups of exposed mice returning to normal in the weeks following antibiotic exposure.
Professor Lynn added: “Our data suggests that the type of micro biome that repopulates the gut after antibiotics has the potential to reprogram the mammalian immune system with long-lasting effects including on longevity. “
These data suggest that differences in the microbiota following antibiotics in early life can reprogram the immune system long-term, with the consequences of this reprogramming emerging later in life, including effects on immunity, metabolism and even lifespan.
“Previous studies investigating the causative link between gut microbiota and lifespan have largely been restricted to invertebrates and mice with shortened lifespan due to genetic deficiency.
Professor Colin Garner, Chief Executive of Antibiotic Research UK, told express.co.uk: “The composition of the microbiome i.e. the collection of microorganisms in the body particularly in the gut has been found to be very important in human health.
“Alterations in microbiome composition are associated with numerous health disorders like inflammatory bowel disease, malnutrition, metabolic disorders, asthma and neuro-degenerative diseases. We can now add to this list alterations in life-span.
“[While] researchers have found that giving antibiotics early in life led to reduced lifespan in treated animals, it needs to be established if this animal study is reproduced in humans.”
Scientists calling for the new antibiotics that are more selective in the bacteria they kill have developed new algorithms which they believe could help design potent new antibiotics from scratch.
This would mean that the antibiotics kill only the bugs causing infections as opposed to all healthy bacteria living in the gut.
Professor Garner added: “We know that antibiotics wipe out many gut bacteria that it can take some time for the gut to recover.
That is why it is so important to only use antibiotics when essential rather than for trivial uses such as treating a cough, cold, or sore throat. “It may be that the deleterious effects of antibiotics on the microbiome will become as important as antibiotic resistance in their clinical use.”
Antibiotic resistance arises when bacteria mutate and evolve to sidestep the mechanisms that antimicrobial drugs use to kill them.
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