Gut microbiota recovery and immune response in ampicillin-treated mice

Tidsskriftartikel - 2018


Ampicillin is applied in rodents to induce a temporarily depleted microbiota. To elucidate whether bacteria are just temporarily suppressed or fully eliminated, and how this affects the re-colonisation process, we compared the microbiota and immune system in conventionally housed untreated mice with newly weaned ampicillin treated mice subsequently housed in either a microbe containing environment or in an isolator with only host associated suppressed bacteria to recolonize the gut. Two weeks ampicillin treatment induced a seemingly germ-free state with no bacterial DNA to reveal. Four weeks after treatment caeca were still significantly enlarged in both treated groups, but bacteria re-appeared even in isolator housed mice. While some suppressed bacteria were able to recover and even dominate the community, the abundances and composition were far from the untreated mice and differed between isolator and conventional housing. The treatment reduced the innate cytokine expressions at least for three weeks after treatment, and had a non-lasting reducing impact on the regulatory T cells, and a more lasting impact on the natural killer T cells. We conclude that temporary ampicillin treatment suppresses the majority but does not eliminate all the gut microbiota members. The re-colonisation process is as such influenced by both suppressed host associated bacteria and by environmental bacteria. Treated mice do not re-obtain a complex gut microbiota comparable to untreated mice, and the immune response and gut morphology reflect this. This is a concern when comparing host parameters sensitive to microbial regulation after an antibiotic-induced temporarily "germ-free" state.


Castro-Mejía JL, Jakesevic M, Fabricius NF, Krych Ł, Nielsen DS, Kot W, Bendtsen KM, Vogensen FK, Hansen CHF, Hansen AK. Gut microbiota recovery and immune response in ampicillin-treated mice. Research in Veterinary Science 2018;118:357-364.
doi: 10.1016/j.rvsc.2018.03.013

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