Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Early exposure to antibiotics may impact development, obesity

Date:
August 22, 2012
Source:
NYU Langone Medical Center
Summary:
Researchers have made a novel discovery that could have widespread clinical implications, potentially affecting everything from nutrient metabolism to obesity in children.

Pediatrician holding a baby. Researchers at NYU School of Medicine have made a novel discovery that could have widespread clinical implications, potentially affecting everything from nutrient metabolism to obesity in children.
Credit: © Andres Rodriguez / Fotolia

Researchers at NYU School of Medicine have made a novel discovery that could have widespread clinical implications, potentially affecting everything from nutrient metabolism to obesity in children.

Since the 1950's, low dose antibiotics have been widely used as growth promoters in the agricultural industry. For decades, livestock growers have employed subtherapeutic antibiotic therapy (STAT), not to fight infection or disease, but to increase weight gain in cattle, swine, sheep, chickens and turkey, among other farm animals.

First author Ilseung Cho, MD, MS, and colleagues set out to reveal how antibiotics were acting on the body to create this effect, hypothesizing that low doses of the drugs may alter the composition and function of the bacteria in the gut. The resulting study, appearing August 22 online ahead of print in Nature, confirmed their theory about the gut microbiome, the term used to refer to the community of bacteria that lives in the stomach, and raises new questions about how manipulating it can impact metabolism and disease in the body.

The researchers administered STAT to normal mice and observed that the mice receiving antibiotics developed increased fat mass and percent body fat. After about six weeks, the mice that received antibiotics had gained about 10 to 15 percent more fat mass than the mice that did not receive antibiotics. The researchers also noted that bone density was significantly increased in STAT mice early in development and that particular hormones related to metabolism were affected by antibiotic exposure, as well.

"By using antibiotics, we found we can actually manipulate the population of bacteria and alter how they metabolize certain nutrients," said Dr. Cho, assistant professor of medicine and associate program director for the Division of Gastroenterology at the School of Medicine.

"Ultimately, we were able to affect body composition and development in young mice by changing their gut microbiome through this exposure."

Dr. Cho added that the scientific community is only now beginning to understand just how complex the microbiome is and how it affects health and disease. With a better understanding about the interactions between the microbiome and hosts and how these interactions can be manipulated, he and his colleagues believe the finding has the potential to affect a wide array of conditions ranging from childhood obesity to metabolic syndrome in adults.

Discovered in the early 20th century, antibiotics came into widespread use after World War II with substantial public health benefits. Use of these antibacterial agents has increased dramatically in the years since, now approximating one antibiotic course per year in the average child in the United States. However, there is increasing concern that antibiotic exposure may have long-term consequences, prompting a surge in recent research focused on the effects of antibiotics on development.

"This work shows the importance of the early life microbiome in conditions like obesity," said lead investigator Martin J. Blaser, MD, Frederick King Professor of Medicine and chair of the Department of Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center. "The rise of obesity around the world is coincident with widespread antibiotic use, and our studies provide an experimental linkage. It is possible that early exposure to antibiotics primes children for obesity later in life."

Dr. Blaser advised that more research is needed to confirm this theory, but that manipulation of the gut microbiome may have implications for other conditions affected by the functions of bacteria in the gut. "We're still learning how far the impact of the microbiome reaches and the costs of perturbing it," he said.

The study was funded, in part, by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), National Institutes of Health, under award number T-R01-DK090989 to Dr. Blaser. Additional support was received from award number 1UL1-RR029893, from the National Center for Research Resources, and award number UL1-TR000038, from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), National Institutes of Health; the Diane Belfer Program in Human Microbial Ecology; the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation; the Michael Saperstein Fellowship; and with institutional funds provided by the J. Craig Venter Institute and the NYU Genome Technology Center.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NYU Langone Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ilseung Cho, Shingo Yamanishi, Laura Cox, Barbara A. Methι, Jiri Zavadil, Kelvin Li, Zhan Gao, Douglas Mahana, Kartik Raju, Isabel Teitler, Huilin Li, Alexander V. Alekseyenko, Martin J. Blaser. Antibiotics in early life alter the murine colonic microbiome and adiposity. Nature, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/nature11400

Cite This Page:

NYU Langone Medical Center. "Early exposure to antibiotics may impact development, obesity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120822130837.htm>.
NYU Langone Medical Center. (2012, August 22). Early exposure to antibiotics may impact development, obesity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120822130837.htm
NYU Langone Medical Center. "Early exposure to antibiotics may impact development, obesity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120822130837.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

AFP (Sep. 15, 2014) — The European Commission met on Monday to coordinate aid that the EU can offer to African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. Duration: 00:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) — A new study finds children are prescribed antibiotics twice as often as is necessary. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) — The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — The respiratory virus Enterovirus D68, which targets children, has spread from the Midwest to 21 states. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins