Early-life use of antibiotics disrupts gut microbiota in a rat model of multiple sclerosis (MS) and provokes nervous system autoimmunity, ultimately aggravating disease severity, new research shows.
Results also indicate early-life antibiotic use may have unfavorable consequences on regulation of the immune system.
The research article, “Oral neonatal antibiotic treatment perturbs gut microbiota and aggravates central nervous system autoimmunity in Dark Agouti rats,” was published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.
Increasing evidence shows that a stable gut microbiota — the microbes living in our guts — is required for a properly functioning immune system. For example, changes in intestinal microbiota have been shown to throw off a carefully regulated balance of two types of immune cells: effector T-cells and regulatory T-cells.
Importantly, an imbalance in these immune cell populations has been linked to an increased risk for autoimmune diseases, such as MS and its similar disease in animal models — the experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) model.
Similarly, dysbiosis — gut microbiota imbalances — has been suggested to have a disease-causing role in autoimmune diseases. It is known that patients with autoimmune neuroinflammatory diseases, like MS, have a different make-up of microbes in the gut compared to healthy individuals.
However, it is unclear if gut dysbiosis increases the risk of MS, or is the result of the disease. Also, the relationship between gut dysbiosis and T-cell imbalance is unclear.
Although antibiotics are generally considered safe, their use is known to negatively affect and potentially change the gut microbiota.
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