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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2011 Apr;9(4):233-43. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro2536. Epub 2011 Feb 28.

Shifting the balance: antibiotic effects on host-microbiota mutualism.

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Michael Smith Laboratories, The University of British Columbia.


Antibiotics have been used effectively as a means to treat bacterial infections in humans and animals for over half a century. However, through their use, lasting alterations are being made to a mutualistic relationship that has taken millennia to evolve: the relationship between the host and its microbiota. Host-microbiota interactions are dynamic; therefore, changes in the microbiota as a consequence of antibiotic treatment can result in the dysregulation of host immune homeostasis and an increased susceptibility to disease. A better understanding of both the changes in the microbiota as a result of antibiotic treatment and the consequential changes in host immune homeostasis is imperative, so that these effects can be mitigated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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