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Nat Commun. 2017 Apr 4;8:15062. doi: 10.1038/ncomms15062.

Low-dose penicillin in early life induces long-term changes in murine gut microbiota, brain cytokines and behavior.

Author information

1
McMaster Brain-Body Institute at St Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton, 50 Charlton Avenue East T3304, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8N 4A6.
2
Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, McMaster University, 50 Charlton Avenue East, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8N 4A6.
3
Metabolism and Nutrition Research Group, Louvain Drug Research Institute, Université Catholique de Louvain, Avenue E. Mounier 73, Brussels 1200, Belgium.
4
Faculty of Medicine, Université Catholique de Louvain, Brussels 1200, Belgium.
5
Faculty of Medicine, Bar-Ilan University, Henrietta Szold 8, Safed 1311502, Israel.
6
Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health and Department of Medicine, McMaster University, 50 Charlton Avenue East, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8N 4A6.

Abstract

There is increasing concern about potential long-term effects of antibiotics on children's health. Epidemiological studies have revealed that early-life antibiotic exposure can increase the risk of developing immune and metabolic diseases, and rodent studies have shown that administration of high doses of antibiotics has long-term effects on brain neurochemistry and behaviour. Here we investigate whether low-dose penicillin in late pregnancy and early postnatal life induces long-term effects in the offspring of mice. We find that penicillin has lasting effects in both sexes on gut microbiota, increases cytokine expression in frontal cortex, modifies blood-brain barrier integrity and alters behaviour. The antibiotic-treated mice exhibit impaired anxiety-like and social behaviours, and display aggression. Concurrent supplementation with Lactobacillus rhamnosus JB-1 prevents some of these alterations. These results warrant further studies on the potential role of early-life antibiotic use in the development of neuropsychiatric disorders, and the possible attenuation of these by beneficial bacteria.

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