Effects of Antibiotics on Gut Microbiota

Dig Dis. 2016;34(3):260-8. doi: 10.1159/000443360. Epub 2016 Mar 30.


The gut microbiota influences essential human functions including digestion, energy metabolism, and inflammation by modulating multiple endocrine, neural, and immune pathways of the host. Its composition and complexity varies markedly across individuals and across different sites of the gut, but provides a certain level of resilience against external perturbation. Short-term antibiotic treatment is able to shift the gut microbiota to long-term alternative dysbiotic states, which may promote the development and aggravation of disease. Common features of post-antibiotic dysbiosis include a loss of taxonomic and functional diversity combined with reduced colonization resistance against invading pathogens, which harbors the danger of antimicrobial resistance. This review summarizes the antibiotic-related changes of the gut microbiota and potential consequences in health and disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / classification
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / drug effects*
  • Humans


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents