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The use of antibiotics to promote growth was first discovered by farmers. Sub-therapeutic antibiotic treatment (STAT) was used to increase growth in livestock. This has since been studied in mice showing that there is a correlation between an increase in the administration of STAT and higher adiposity in young mice; increased hormone levels related to metabolism; and substantial taxonomic changes in the microbiome, thereby revealing an alteration of early-life murine metabolic homeostasis through antibiotic manipulation [Cho, 2012].
Blaser referred to the proposed mechanism for STAT-induced adiposity in developing animals, and went on to reference two epidemiological studies in England [ALSPAC] which showed the same effect in children.
Adiposity in STAT and control mice at 10 weeks of age
Adapted from ALSPAC
Adapted from ALSPAC
Induction of he- patic lipogenic genees
Changed composition of colonic microbiota
Antibiotic-medicated differencial selection of colonic microbiota
Altered representation of SCFA synthesis genes
Increased adiposity
Infant antibiotic exposures and early life body mass
L Trasanda, J Blustein, M Liu, E Corwin, LM Cox, MJ Blaser
1 0.5
6 wks
Association of caesarean delivery with child adiposity from age 6-weeks to 15 years
J Blustein, T Attina, M Liu, AM Ryan, LM Cox, MJ Blaser, L Trasande
reduced fecal content of indigestible constituents
6 wks
10 mos
Incorporation of lipids into adipose tissue
Early life microbiome disruption is associated with weight gain in children in ALSPAC birth cohort
Increased SCFA synthesis
Adapted from: Cho, 2012
1 0.5 00
C-section No C-section
10 mos
20 mos
38 mos
7 yrs
20 mos
38 mos
7 yrs
8 yrs
11 yrs
15 yrs
Exposed to antibiotics during the first 6 months of life
All mothers
Exposed Not Exposed
22.9% body fat
32.0% body fat
Predicted Z-score WFL/BMI
Predicted Z-score WFL or BMI

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