A new study, conducted by researchers from Rutgers University, U.S., finds that early exposure to antibiotics kills healthy microbiota in the digestive tract and can cause asthma and allergies.
The research team carried out an experiment that consisted of three parts and used mouse model. In the first part, five-day-old mice received water, azithromycin or amoxicillin. When the mice matured, they were exposed to a common allergen from house dust mites. Mice that had received either of the antibiotics, especially azithromycin, showed higher rates of immune responses (allergies).
The second and third parts of the experiment tested the hypothesis that early exposure to antibiotics leads to development of allergies and asthma by killing some healthy bacteria in the gut that support proper immune system development.
Senior author of the study Martin Blaser, director of the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine at Rutgers, says: “These experiments provide strong evidence that antibiotics cause unwanted immune responses to develop via their effect on gut bacteria, but only if gut bacteria are altered in early childhood.”