Omega-3 fatty acids prevent early-life antibiotic exposure-induced gut microbiota dysbiosis and later-life obesity

Int J Obes (Lond). 2016 Jun;40(6):1039-42. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2016.27. Epub 2016 Feb 15.


Early-life antibiotic exposure can disrupt the founding intestinal microbial community and lead to obesity later in life. Recent studies show that omega-3 fatty acids can reduce body weight gain and chronic inflammation through modulation of the gut microbiota. We hypothesize that increased tissue levels of omega-3 fatty acids may prevent antibiotic-induced alteration of gut microbiota and obesity later in life. Here, we utilize the fat-1 transgenic mouse model, which can endogenously produce omega-3 fatty acids and thereby eliminates confounding factors of diet, to show that elevated tissue levels of omega-3 fatty acids significantly reduce body weight gain and the severity of insulin resistance, fatty liver and dyslipidemia resulting from early-life exposure to azithromycin. These effects were associated with a reversal of antibiotic-induced dysbiosis of gut microbiota in fat-1 mice. These results demonstrate the beneficial effects of omega-3 fatty acids on antibiotic-induced gut dysbiosis and obesity, and suggest the potential utility of omega-3 supplementation as a safe and effective means for the prevention of obesity in children who are exposed to antibiotics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / adverse effects*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dysbiosis / chemically induced*
  • Dysbiosis / pathology
  • Dysbiosis / prevention & control*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / pharmacology*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / drug effects*
  • Inflammation
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Weight Gain / drug effects


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3