MICROBIOME ANALYSIS REVEALS AZITHROMYCIN POST-TREATMENT EFFECTS
Next-generation sequencing has revolutionized our perspective on the gut microbiome composition, revealing the true extent of the adverse effects of antibiotics. The impact of antibiotic treatment on gut microbiota must be considered and researched to provide grounds for establishing new treatment strategies that are less devastating on commensal bacteria. This study investigates the impact on gut microbiome when a commonly used antibiotic, azithromycin is administered, as well as uncovers the benefits induced when it is used in combination with lactulose, a prebiotic known to enhance the proliferation of commensal microbes.
16S rRNA gene sequencing analysis of stool samples obtained from 87 children treated with azithromycin in combination with or without lactulose have been determined. Children's gut microbial profile was established at the pre- and post-treatment stage.
Azithromycin caused an increase in the relative abundance of opportunistic pathogens such as Streptococcus that was evident 60 days after treatment. While few days after treatment, children who also received lactulose started to show a higher relative abundance of saccharolytic bacteria such as Lactobacillus, Enterococcus, Anaerostipes, Blautia and Roseburia, providing a protective role against opportunistic pathogens. In addition, azithromycin-prebiotic combination was able to provide a phylogenetic profile more similar to the pre-treatment stage.
It is suggested that during azithromycin treatment, lactulose is able to reinstate the microbiome equilibrium much faster as it promotes saccharolytic microbes and provides a homeostatic effect that minimizes the opportunistic pathogen colonization.