Antibiotic usage in children could harm adult gut health: Study | Health


ANI | | Posted by Akanksha Agnihotri, London [uk]

Antibiotics are frequently administered to preterm and low birth weight infants in order to prevent infections, not simply treat them as they have a higher risk of developing them. A recent study discovered that neonatal mice exposed to antibiotics early in life had long-lasting consequences on their microbiota, enteric nervous system, and gut function. The study was published in The Journal of Physiology. This could imply that children who receive antibiotics as infants may have digestive problems. (Also read: Probiotic consumption can reduce kids’ need for antibiotics )

This study by the Department of Anatomy and Physiology at the University of Melbourne is the first to demonstrate that antibiotics administered to neonatal mice have these long-lasting effects that cause disturbed gastrointestinal function, including slowed gut motility and symptoms similar to diarrhea in adults.

For the first ten days of their life, the research team gave mice an oral dose of vancomycin every day. They were subsequently raised regularly until they were young adults, and the structure, function, microbiome, and nervous system of their gut tissue were examined. The researchers discovered that the mice’s sex also influenced modifications. Compared to the control group, the males had lower faecal weight and the females had longer whole gut transit. The water in the faeces was higher in males than females, which is a sign of diarrhea.

Mice and people share many characteristics, however, due to their shorter lifespans, they have rapid growth and more underdeveloped stomachs at birth than do humans. The results cannot yet be directly compared to human children and newborns because of how different their neural systems and gut flora are from those of people. The consequences of antibiotic use in infancy on metabolism and brain function will be examined further by the researchers, as well as the mechanisms by which antibiotics affect the gut and the reasons behind their sex-specific effects.

‘We are quite enthusiastic about the findings of our study which demonstrate that antibiotics given after birth could have persistent impacts on the enteric nervous system,’ lead physiologist Dr Jaime Foong stated. This offers more proof of the impact of gut microbiota on overall health and might suggest new targets for developing antibiotic therapies for young children.

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