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Review
. 2016 Apr 13;8(1):39.
doi: 10.1186/s13073-016-0294-z.

The Effects of Antibiotics on the Microbiome Throughout Development and Alternative Approaches for Therapeutic Modulation

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Free PMC article
Review

The Effects of Antibiotics on the Microbiome Throughout Development and Alternative Approaches for Therapeutic Modulation

Amy Langdon et al. Genome Med. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

The widespread use of antibiotics in the past 80 years has saved millions of human lives, facilitated technological progress and killed incalculable numbers of microbes, both pathogenic and commensal. Human-associated microbes perform an array of important functions, and we are now just beginning to understand the ways in which antibiotics have reshaped their ecology and the functional consequences of these changes. Mounting evidence shows that antibiotics influence the function of the immune system, our ability to resist infection, and our capacity for processing food. Therefore, it is now more important than ever to revisit how we use antibiotics. This review summarizes current research on the short-term and long-term consequences of antibiotic use on the human microbiome, from early life to adulthood, and its effect on diseases such as malnutrition, obesity, diabetes, and Clostridium difficile infection. Motivated by the consequences of inappropriate antibiotic use, we explore recent progress in the development of antivirulence approaches for resisting infection while minimizing resistance to therapy. We close the article by discussing probiotics and fecal microbiota transplants, which promise to restore the microbiota after damage of the microbiome. Together, the results of studies in this field emphasize the importance of developing a mechanistic understanding of gut ecology to enable the development of new therapeutic strategies and to rationally limit the use of antibiotic compounds.

Figures

Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Health consequences linked to the disruption of human-associated microbiota involving antibiotic use during development and adulthood. Red lines indicate that a single dose of antibiotics within the time period has been linked to a health consequence, whereas a dotted red line indicates that multiple doses of antibiotics within the time period are required to observe a link

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