Recovery of gut flora after a course of antibiotics is associated with a reduction in life expectancy in mice, Australian researchers have found.
During their study, the experts studied the long-term effects of antibiotics administered to mice at an early stage of life. They observed the test subjects from the beginning of the drugs – ampicillin and neomycin – up to old age (102 weeks). Antibiotics severely reduced microbiome diversity, after which the gut was typically repopulated with one of two sets of microbiota, designated by the researchers as PAM I and PAM II, respectively.
Mice with PAM II subsequently showed increased resistance to insulin, indicating metabolic disturbances and increased inflammation in various tissues, including the liver and brain. Antibody production after flu vaccination was also reduced in them. These mice died about twice as quickly as their PAM I counterparts-even though in both cases the composition of the gut microbiome subsequently returned to normal.
“The results [of the study] suggest that the type of microbiome that populates the gut after [administration of] antibiotics has the ability to reprogram the mammalian immune system with long-lasting consequences, including longevity,” said David Lynn, lead author of the study, Flinders University professor.