Dynamics of gut microbiota recovery after antibiotic exposure in young and old mice (A pilot study)

Daniel Laubitz, Katri Typpo, Monica Midura-Kiela, Clairessa Brown, Albert Barberán, Fayez K. Ghishan, Pawel R. Kiela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Antibiotics have improved survival from previously deadly infectious diseases. Antibiotics alter the microbial composition of the gut microbiota, and these changes are associated with diminished innate immunity and decline in cognitive function in older adults. The composition of the human microbiota changes with age over the human lifespan. In this pilot study, we sought to identify if age is associated with differential recovery of the microbiota after antibiotic exposure. Using 16S rRNA gene sequencing, we compared recovery of the gut microbiota after the 10-day broad-spectrum antibiotic treatment in wild-type C57BL/six young and older mice. Immediately after antibiotic cessation, as expected, the number of ASVs, representing taxonomic richness, in both young and older mice significantly declined from the baseline. Mice were followed up to 6 months after cessation of the single 10-day antibiotic regimen. The Bray-Curtis index recovered within 20 days after antibiotic cessation in young mice, whereas in older mice the microbiota did not fully recover during the 6-months of follow-up. Bifidobacterium, Dubosiella, Lachnospiraceae_NK4A136_group became dominant in older mice, whereas in young mice, the bacteria were more evenly distributed, with only one dominant genus of Anaeroplasma. From 45 genera that became extinct after antibiotic treatment in young mice, 31 (68.9%) did not recover by the end of the study. In older mice, from 36 extinct genera, 27 (75%) did not recover. The majority of the genera that became extinct and never recovered belonged to Firmicutes phylum and Clostridiales family. In our study, age was a factor associated with the long-term recovery of the gut microbiota after the 10-day antibiotic treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number647
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • 16S
  • Aging
  • Antibiotics
  • Bacteria
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Metronidazole

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Virology
  • Microbiology


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