Tatsat Chronicle Magazine

Antibiotics Given to Babies May Cause Gut Issues Later: Study

September 13, 2022
Picture used for representational purposes only. Photo Credit- Flickr

A study has found that when children receive antibiotics, they may develop digestive problems as they grow older.

The research, conducted on mice by researchers from the University of Melbourne in Australia was published in The Journal of Physiology. Studies have shown that antibiotics given early in life to newborn mice have long-lasting effects on their microbiota, enteric nervous system, and gut function.

If children are exposed to antibiotics, the risk of disease, including gastrointestinal disorders, increases later in life. However, its long-term effects are unclear.

“We are very excited about the findings of our study which show that antibiotics given after birth could have prolonged effects on the enteric nervous system,” lead researcher Dr Jaime Foong said as quoted by news agency PTI.

The team gave mice daily oral doses of Vancomycin (an antibiotic) for 10 days. They were then naturally reared until they were young (six weeks old). Their intestinal tissues were observed to measure their structure, function, microbiota, and nervous system.

It was found that the neonatal antibiotic treatment disrupted the gut functions of young adult female and male mice differently. The team found that women had higher total visceral circulation, a measure of the time it takes for food to pass through the system. On the other hand, males had lower stool weights.

However, according to the study, both male and female mice exhibited diarrhoea-like symptoms.

The researchers also noted that although there are similarities between mice and humans, mice have immature intestines with rapid development due to their short lifespan. Because their gut microbiota and nervous system are less complex than humans, the studies cannot directly relate to human babies.