2021-10-20| Special

Scientists Identify Antidotes To Overcome Collateral Damage of Antibiotics on Gut Microbiota

by Manju Bhaskar
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Antibiotics fight life-threatening pathogens, but they could also kill commensal bacteria in the process. This disturbs the composition of gut microbiota, causing dysbiosis and disease.

Antibiotics developed to have broad-spectrum activities directly affect the gut microbiota, thereby compromising their multiple beneficial effects and weakening the body's first line of defense against pathogens. The most common side effects of this collateral damage are gastrointestinal problems and recurrent Clostridiodes difficle infections. This damage results in long-term health issues such as the development of allergic, metabolic, immunological, or inflammatory diseases.

Recently, EMBL researchers, along with their collaborators, analyzed the effects of 144 antibiotics on the most common gut microbes. The study published in Nature illuminates the activity spectra of antibiotics in commensal bacteria and suggests strategies to circumvent their adverse effects on the gut microbiota. This collaborative effort not only improves our understanding of the effects of antibiotics on gut microbes but also suggests a new approach to overcome them.

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