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Genome Med. 2016 Apr 13;8(1):39. doi: 10.1186/s13073-016-0294-z.

The effects of antibiotics on the microbiome throughout development and alternative approaches for therapeutic modulation.

Langdon A1,2, Crook N1,3, Dantas G4,5,6,7.

Author information

1
Center for Genome Sciences, Washington University School of Medicine, Campus Box 8510, 4515 McKinley Research Building, St. Louis, MO, 63108, USA.
2
Clinical Research Training Center, Washington University School of Medicine, Campus Box 8051, 660 South Euclid Avenue, St. Louis, MO, 63110-1093, USA.
3
Department of Pathology & Immunology, Washington University School of Medicine, Campus Box 8118, 660 South Euclid Ave, St. Louis, MO, 63110, USA.
4
Center for Genome Sciences, Washington University School of Medicine, Campus Box 8510, 4515 McKinley Research Building, St. Louis, MO, 63108, USA. dantas@wustl.edu.
5
Department of Pathology & Immunology, Washington University School of Medicine, Campus Box 8118, 660 South Euclid Ave, St. Louis, MO, 63110, USA. dantas@wustl.edu.
6
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Washington University in Saint Louis, Campus Box 1097, 1 Brookings Drive, Saint Louis, MO, 63130, USA. dantas@wustl.edu.
7
Department of Molecular Microbiology, Washington University School of Medicine, Campus Box 8230, 660 S. Euclid Ave, St. Louis, MO, 63110, USA. dantas@wustl.edu.

Abstract

The widespread use of antibiotics in the past 80 years has saved millions of human lives, facilitated technological progress and killed incalculable numbers of microbes, both pathogenic and commensal. Human-associated microbes perform an array of important functions, and we are now just beginning to understand the ways in which antibiotics have reshaped their ecology and the functional consequences of these changes. Mounting evidence shows that antibiotics influence the function of the immune system, our ability to resist infection, and our capacity for processing food. Therefore, it is now more important than ever to revisit how we use antibiotics. This review summarizes current research on the short-term and long-term consequences of antibiotic use on the human microbiome, from early life to adulthood, and its effect on diseases such as malnutrition, obesity, diabetes, and Clostridium difficile infection. Motivated by the consequences of inappropriate antibiotic use, we explore recent progress in the development of antivirulence approaches for resisting infection while minimizing resistance to therapy. We close the article by discussing probiotics and fecal microbiota transplants, which promise to restore the microbiota after damage of the microbiome. Together, the results of studies in this field emphasize the importance of developing a mechanistic understanding of gut ecology to enable the development of new therapeutic strategies and to rationally limit the use of antibiotic compounds.

PMID:
27074706
PMCID:
PMC4831151
DOI:
10.1186/s13073-016-0294-z
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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