The effects of gut commensal bacteria depletion on mice exposed to acute lethal irradiation

J Radiat Res. 2007 Jul;48(4):347-50. doi: 10.1269/jrr.07020. Epub 2007 Jun 29.


The prevention and management of bacterial infection are the mainstays of therapies for irradiation victims. However, worries about adverse effects arise from gut commensal flora depletion owing to the broad-spectrum antibiotics treatment. In the present study, we investigated the effects of gut bacteria depletion on the mice receiving total-body irradiation (TBI) at a single dose of 12 Gy. One group of mice was merely exposed to TBI but was free of antibiotic treatment throughout the experiment, while the other two groups of mice were additionally given broad-spectrum antibiotics, either from 2 weeks before or immediately after irradiation. The survival time of each animal in each group was recorded for analysis. Results showed that the mean survival time of mice was longest in the group without antibiotic treatment and shortest in the group treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics from 2 weeks before TBI. In conclusion, our data suggested that depletion of gut commensal bacteria with broad-spectrum antibiotics seemed deleterious for mammals receiving lethal TBI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology
  • Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Body Weight
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Intestines / microbiology*
  • Intestines / radiation effects*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Radiation Tolerance
  • Time Factors
  • Whole-Body Irradiation*


  • Anti-Infective Agents