Antibiotic effects on gut microbiota, metabolism, and beyond

  • Chunlong Mu
  • Weiyun ZhuEmail author


Current advances on gut microbiota have broadened our view on host-microbiota interactions. As a microbiota-targeted approach, the use of antibiotics has been widely adopted to explore the role of gut microbiota in vivo. Antibiotics can change the microbial composition, resulting in varied effects, depending on the antibiotic class, dosage, and duration. Antibiotic intervention in early life leads to life-long phenotype alterations, including obesity. Antibiotic-induced changes in gut microbiota affect the epithelial utilization of both macronutrients (e.g., amino acids) and micronutrients (e.g., copper, vitamin E) and the redox homeostasis. Of particular interest is the regulation of gut anaerobiosis and aerobiosis by oxygen availability, which is closely related to epithelial metabolism. Additionally, antibiotic interventions enable to identify novel roles of gut microbiota in gut-liver axis and gut-brain axis. Indigenous antimicrobial molecules are produced by certain microbes, and they have the potential to affect function through eliciting changes in the gut microbiota. This review discusses at length these findings to gain a better and novel insight into microbiota-host interactions and the mechanisms involved.


Microbial composition Nutrient utilization Redox potential Gut-liver axis Gut-brain axis Indigenous antimicrobial molecules 


Funding information

This work was funded by the Natural Science Foundation of China (31430082) and National Key Basic Research Program of China (2013CB127300).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical statement

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Gastrointestinal Microbiology, Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Gastrointestinal Nutrition and Animal Health, College of Animal Science and TechnologyNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.National Center for International Research on Animal Gut NutritionNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingChina

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