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It is suggested that antibiotherapy in infancy might program adult body composition and thus could be a determinant of obesity risk. Although not convincingly substantiated by existing literature, this assumption is plausible since antibiotics affect intestinal microbiota, whose composition in adulthood is potentially programmable during infancy and which is able to interact with both fat development and central control of appetite. In order to substantiate the link between antibiotherapy and programming of adult body composition, the present study investigated the impact of a course of amoxicillin treatment in neonatal period on subsequent growth and body composition in rats. Suckling rat pups were treated by oral gavage with an amoxicillin solution (150 mg·kg(-1)) or vehicle from postnatal day (PND)5 to PND15. All animals were fully weaned at PND21 then fed a standard diet until PND130. Animal growth and food intake were followed up until PND130, when body composition and plasma leptin were measured. Faecal microbiota was typified at regular intervals using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Preweaning amoxicillin treatment affected the composition of the faecal microbiota of pups at PND21 but this impact did not sustain long beyond the antibiotic supplementation. Immediately after weaning, a transient increase in food intake (+11%) was noticed in amoxicillin-treated animals. However, no significant impact on either growth or body composition at adulthood was observed. In a neonatal animal model there is no evidence of a programming of adult body weight and composition by wide-spectrum antibiotic treatment in early life. Copyright © 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel.


Fanny B Morel, Annemarie Oosting, Hugues Piloquet, Raish Oozeer, Dominique Darmaun, Catherine Michel. Can antibiotic treatment in preweaning rats alter body composition in adulthood? Neonatology. 2013;103(3):182-9

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PMID: 23434826

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