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FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2010 Sep;73(3):601-10. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2010.00916.x. Epub 2010 May 25.

Metronidazole effects on microbiota and mucus layer thickness in the rat gut.

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EA 3199, Laboratoire de Biologie, CNAM, Paris, France.


Both mucus and mucosa-associated bacteria form a specific environment in the gut; their disruption may play a crucial role in the development of intestinal bowel disease (IBD). Metronidazole, an antibiotic used in the treatment of IBD, alters gut microbiota and reduces basal oxidative stress to proteins in colonic tissue of healthy rats. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of the altered microbiota due to the metronidazole on the thickness of the mucus layer. This study was performed in healthy untreated rats (control group) or rats treated by metronidazole (metronidazole-treated rats, 1 mg mL(-1) in drinking water for 7 days). Both PCR-temporal temperature gradient gel electrophoresis and quantitative PCR (qPCR) revealed an altered microbiota with an increase in bifidobacteria and enterobacteria in metronidazole-treated rats compared with control rats. Moreover, a dominant bifidobacterial species, Bifidobacterium pseudolongum, was detected. Using qPCR and FISH, we showed that bifidobacteria were also increased in the microbiota-associated mucosa. At the same time, the mucus layer thickness was increased approximately twofold. These results could explain the benefits of metronidazole treatment and warrant further investigations to define the role of bifidobacteria in the colonic mucosa.

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