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Elife. 2018 Jun 19;7. pii: e35987. doi: 10.7554/eLife.35987.

Antibiotic-induced changes in the microbiota disrupt redox dynamics in the gut.

Author information

Department of Biology, Duke University, Durham, United States.
Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Duke University, Durham, United States.
Department of Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, United States.
Department of Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, United States.
Profusa, Inc., South San Francisco, United States.
Program in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Duke University, Durham, United States.
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Duke University, Durham, United States.
Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, United States.
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Duke University, Durham, United States.
Center for Genomic and Computational Biology, Duke University, Durham, United States.


How host and microbial factors combine to structure gut microbial communities remains incompletely understood. Redox potential is an important environmental feature affected by both host and microbial actions. We assessed how antibiotics, which can impact host and microbial function, change redox state and how this contributes to post-antibiotic succession. We showed gut redox potential increased within hours of an antibiotic dose in mice. Host and microbial functioning changed under treatment, but shifts in redox potentials could be attributed specifically to bacterial suppression in a host-free ex vivo human gut microbiota model. Redox dynamics were linked to blooms of the bacterial family Enterobacteriaceae. Ecological succession to pre-treatment composition was associated with recovery of gut redox, but also required dispersal from unaffected gut communities. As bacterial competition for electron acceptors can be a key ecological factor structuring gut communities, these results support the potential for manipulating gut microbiota through managing bacterial respiration.


antibiotics; gut microbiota; human; infectious disease; microbiology; mouse; redox potential; succession

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Conflict of interest statement

AR, EC, MV, HD, SJ, FM, SN, TO, JW, MD, LD No competing interests declared, BK Duke University has received support from Profusa, Inc. as an NIH subaward and additional corporate support for research. Dr. Klitzman has no equity ownership. He now has a consulting agreement and has received professorial sponsorship through Duke University from Profusa, Inc. SN Is the Director of Pre-Clinical and Advanced Technologies at Profusa, Inc. NW Is a Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Profusa, Inc.

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