Evaluation of the effects of intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis on newborn intestinal microbiota using a sequencing approach targeted to multi hypervariable 16S rDNA regions

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2016 Jun;100(12):5537-46. doi: 10.1007/s00253-016-7410-2. Epub 2016 Mar 14.


Different factors are known to influence the early gut colonization in newborns, among them the perinatal use of antibiotics. On the other hand, the effect on the baby of the administration of antibiotics to the mother during labor, referred to as intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis (IAP), has received less attention, although routinely used in group B Streptococcus positive women to prevent the infection in newborns. In this work, the fecal microbiota of neonates born to mothers receiving IAP and of control subjects were compared taking advantage for the first time of high-throughput DNA sequencing technology. Seven different 16S rDNA hypervariable regions (V2, V3, V4, V6 + V7, V8, and V9) were amplified and sequenced using the Ion Torrent Personal Genome Machine. The results obtained showed significant differences in the microbial composition of newborns born to mothers who had received IAP, with a lower abundance of Actinobacteria and Bacteroidetes as well as an overrepresentation of Proteobacteria. Considering that the seven hypervariable regions showed different discriminant ability in the taxonomic identification, further analyses were performed on the V4 region evidencing in IAP infants a reduced microbial richness and biodiversity, as well as a lower number of bacterial families with a predominance of Enterobacteriaceae members. In addition, this analysis pointed out a significant reduction in Bifidobacterium spp. strains. The reduced abundance of these beneficial microorganisms, together with the increased amount of potentially pathogenic bacteria, may suggest that IAP infants are more exposed to gastrointestinal or generally health disorders later in age.

Keywords: 16S rDNA hypervariable regions; Gut microbiota; Intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis; Newborns; Next generation sequencing technology.

MeSH terms

  • Actinobacteria / genetics
  • Actinobacteria / physiology
  • Adult
  • Antibiotic Prophylaxis* / adverse effects
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bifidobacterium / genetics
  • Bifidobacterium / physiology
  • Biodiversity
  • DNA, Ribosomal
  • Enterobacteriaceae / genetics
  • Enterobacteriaceae / physiology
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / drug effects*
  • Genetic Variation
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing / methods
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Labor, Obstetric
  • Pregnancy
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S
  • Streptococcal Infections / drug therapy
  • Streptococcal Infections / prevention & control
  • Streptococcus agalactiae / genetics
  • Streptococcus agalactiae / physiology


  • DNA, Ribosomal
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S