Oral antibiotics reduce body temperature of healthy rabbits in a thermoneutral environment

J Basic Clin Physiol Pharmacol. 1999;10(1):1-13. doi: 10.1515/jbcpp.1999.10.1.1.


Nonabsorbable oral antibiotics, which reduce gut flora, decrease the daytime and night-time body temperatures of rats and mice. We investigated whether oral antibiotics would also lower the body temperature of healthy rabbits. Six rabbits received neomycin sulphate in their drinking water for ten days, and seven rabbits received a mixture of chloramphenicol and dihydroxystreptomycin for six days. Body temperatures, recorded using intra-abdominal radiotelemeters, decreased significantly, by 0.2-0.3 degree C, after three days of antibiotic treatment in both groups of rabbits. The drop in body temperature was transient; after six days body temperatures returned to pre-antibiotic levels. Antibiotic treatment had no effect on either the acrophase or the amplitude of the circadian rhythm in body temperature. Oral antibiotics therefore reduce body temperature of rabbits, without influencing the circadian rhythm in body temperature. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that an agent arising from intestinal bacteria sustains an elevated body temperature in healthy animals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Temperature / drug effects*
  • Chloramphenicol / pharmacology*
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Drug Therapy, Combination / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Male
  • Neomycin / pharmacology*
  • Rabbits
  • Reticulin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Reticulin / pharmacology
  • Streptomycin / analogs & derivatives


  • Reticulin
  • dihydroxystreptomycin
  • Chloramphenicol
  • Neomycin
  • Streptomycin