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J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2003 Jul;14(1):57-64.

The effect of antibiotic therapy on intrauterine infection-induced preterm parturition in rabbits.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Parasitology, Louisiana State University Health Sciences, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The purpose of this study was to determine whether early antibiotic administration to pregnant rabbits with intrauterine infection could prevent preterm delivery and perinatal mortality.

STUDY DESIGN:

Under hysteroscopic guidance, pregnant rabbits at 70% gestation (21 days) were allocated to three groups: (1) control group, transcervical inoculation of 0.2 ml phosphate-buffered saline (n = 16); (2) infection group, transcervical inoculation of 0.2 ml of 10(5) colony-forming units (CFU) of Escherichia coli (n = 21); (3) infection and antibiotics group, transcervical inoculations of 0.2 ml of 10(5) CFU of E. coli and ampicillin-sulbactam 150 mg/kg every 8 h intramuscularly (n = 32). To examine the consequences of treatment delay, animals in the latter group were subdivided to receive antibiotics at different time intervals of 0, 6, 11 and 18 h after bacterial inoculation. The intervals from bacterial inoculation to delivery and litter survival were documented. Systemic (rectal) temperatures were recorded at 4 h intervals through the first 36 h and every 12 h until delivery. A p value of < 0.05 was considered significant.

RESULTS:

All rabbits inoculated with E. coli without antibiotic treatment delivered prematurely. The median inoculation-to-delivery interval was significantly shorter in the infected group than in the control group (median 32 h, range 14.9-76.5 h vs. median 219 h, range 173-246 h, respectively; p < 0.0001). Antibiotic administration within 12 h of inoculation, but not after 18 h, increased duration of pregnancy (by reducing the rate of preterm delivery) and neonatal survival (0% vs. 71%; p < 0.0001). The mean temperatures at delivery of animals whose treatments began at 6 and 11 h post-inoculation were significantly lower than those untreated with antibiotics or those treated at 18 h post-inoculation (p < 0.0001 for each comparison).

CONCLUSIONS:

Antibiotic administration can prolong pregnancy and reduce perinatal mortality if administered early (within 12 h of microbial inoculation) in a rabbit model of ascending intrauterine infection.

PMID:
14563094
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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