Antibiotic Use May Promote IBD Development by Disrupting Gut Immune Cells, Mouse Study Suggests

Antibiotic Use May Promote IBD Development by Disrupting Gut Immune Cells, Mouse Study Suggests
Antibiotics can disrupt immune cells residing in the gut, triggering the rise of pro-inflammatory cells and reducing healthy bacteria — two steps key in the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a study in mice shows. The study, “Antibiotics induce sustained dysregulation of intestinal T cell immunity by perturbing macrophage homeostasis,” was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine. Antibiotics are routinely administered to both children and adults as a strategy to fight bacterial infections, but they are increasingly recognized as also having other effects. In fact, epidemiological data links antibiotic use early in life with disruption of the gut microbiota — the collection of trillions of healthy microbes, primarily bacteria, that reside in our gut — and IBD. "Epidemiological evidence already links antibiotics given to babies and young children, when the immune system is still developing, to inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, psoriasis and other inflammatory diseases later in life," Elizabeth Mann, PhD, a researcher at the Lydia Becker Institute of Immunology and Inflammation at the University of Manchester in the U.K. and the study's lead author, said in a press release. However, the way in which antibiotic use may foster the development of IBD was still unclear. "Until now it has been hard to determine cause and effect, especially with the time lag between taking the antibiotics and the development of disease later in life," Mann said. To understand the impact of antibiotic use and disruption of the microbiome on intestine immunity, researchers gave broad-spectrum antibiotics to mice, diluted in their drinking water, for one week. They then introduced a normal microbiome into the animals' gut after anti
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