Prebiotic Oligofructose Prevents Antibiotic-Induced Obesity Risk and Improves Metabolic and Gut Microbiota Profiles in Rat Dams and Offspring

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2020 Aug;64(16):e2000288. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.202000288. Epub 2020 Jul 12.


Scope: Antibiotics in early life disrupt microbiota and increase obesity risk. Dietary agents such as prebiotics may reduce obesity risk. The authors examine how antibiotics administered with/without prebiotic oligofructose, alter metabolic and microbial outcomes in pregnant rats and their offspring.

Methods and results: Pregnant rats are randomized to: 1) Control, 2) Antibiotic (ABT), 3) Prebiotic (PRE), 4) Antibiotic+Prebiotic (ABT+PRE) during the 3rd week of pregnancy and lactation. Offspring were fed a high fat/high sucrose (HFS) diet from 9-17 weeks of age to unmask obesity risk. ABT dams had higher body weight, body fat and leptin during lactation than all other groups. Prebiotics attenuate these outcomes and increase cecal Bifidobacterium. ABT offspring have higher body weight, fat mass, and liver triglycerides after HFS diet, with a stronger phenotype in males; prebiotics attenuate these. At weaning, male ABT offspring have lower Lactobacillus while PRE and ABT+PRE offspring had higher Bifidobacterium and Collinsella. Fecal microbiota transfer of adult offspring cecal matter could not reliably transfer the obese ABT phenotype.

Conclusions: Antibiotic use during pregnancy/lactation increases adiposity and impairs post-partum weight loss in dams. Co-administering prebiotics with antibiotics in rat dams prevented obesity risk in offspring and is associated with altered gut microbiota.

Keywords: Antibiotics; early-life; microbiota; obesity; prebiotics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / adverse effects*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / drug effects
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology
  • Male
  • Obesity / chemically induced
  • Obesity / microbiology
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Oligosaccharides / pharmacology*
  • Penicillin G / adverse effects
  • Postpartum Period
  • Prebiotics*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / chemically induced
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / prevention & control*
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Weight Gain / drug effects
  • Weight Gain / physiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Blood Glucose
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Prebiotics
  • oligofructose
  • Penicillin G

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