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Infect Immun. 2009 Jul;77(7):2741-53. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00006-09. Epub 2009 Apr 20.

Prolonged impact of antibiotics on intestinal microbial ecology and susceptibility to enteric Salmonella infection.

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Department of Pediatrics, Division of Gastroenterology, the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53226, USA.


The impact of antibiotics on the host's protective microbiota and the resulting increased susceptibility to mucosal infection are poorly understood. In this study, antibiotic regimens commonly applied to murine enteritis models are used to examine the impact of antibiotics on the intestinal microbiota, the time course of recovery of the biota, and the resulting susceptibility to enteric Salmonella infection. Molecular analysis of the microbiota showed that antibiotic treatment has an impact on the colonization of the murine gut that is site and antibiotic dependent. While combinations of antibiotics were able to eliminate culturable bacteria, none of the antibiotic treatments were effective at sterilizing the intestinal tract. Recovery of total bacterial numbers occurs within 1 week after antibiotic withdrawal, but alterations in specific bacterial groups persist for several weeks. Increased Salmonella translocation associated with antibiotic pretreatment corrects rapidly in association with the recovery of the most dominant bacterial group, which parallels the recovery of total bacterial numbers. However, susceptibility to intestinal colonization and mucosal inflammation persists when mice are infected several weeks after withdrawal of antibiotics, correlating with subtle alterations in the intestinal microbiome involving alterations of specific bacterial groups. These results show that the colonizing microbiotas are integral to mucosal host protection, that specific features of the microbiome impact different aspects of enteric Salmonella pathogenesis, and that antibiotics can have prolonged deleterious effects on intestinal colonization resistance.

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