Oral neonatal antibiotic treatment perturbs gut microbiota and aggravates central nervous system autoimmunity in Dark Agouti rats

Sci Rep. 2019 Jan 29;9(1):918. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-37505-7.


Gut microbiota dysbiosis has been considered the essential element in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis and its animal model, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Antibiotics were administered orally to Dark Agouti (DA) rats early in their life with the aim of perturbing gut microbiota and investigating the effects of such intervention on the course of EAE. As a result, the diversity of the gut microbiota was reduced under the influence of antibiotics. Mainly, Firmicutes and Actinobacteria were replaced by Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes, while decreased proportions of Clostridia and Bacilli classes were accompanied by an increase in Gamma-Proteobacteria in antibiotic-treated animals. Interestingly, a notable decrease in the Helicobacteraceae, Spirochaetaceae and Turicibacteriaceae was scored in antibiotic-treated groups. Also, levels of short chain fatty acids were reduced in the faeces of antibiotic-treated rats. Consequently, aggravation of EAE, paralleled with stronger immune response in lymph nodes draining the site of immunization, and increased inflammation within the CNS, were observed in antibiotic-treated DA rats. Thus, the alteration of gut microbiota leads to an escalation of CNS-directed autoimmunity in DA rats. The results of this study indicate that antibiotic use in early life may have subsequent unfavourable effects on the regulation of the immune system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Autoimmunity / drug effects*
  • Central Nervous System / drug effects*
  • Central Nervous System / immunology*
  • Central Nervous System / metabolism
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / drug therapy
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / etiology
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / metabolism
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / pathology
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / drug effects*
  • Rats


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Cytokines