The intestinal microbiome plays an essential role in regulating many aspects of host physiology, and its disruption through antibiotic exposure has been implicated in the development of a range of serious pathologies. The complex metabolic relationships that exist between members of the intestinal microbiota and the potential redundancy in functional pathways mean that an integrative analysis of changes in both structure and function are needed to understand the impact of antibiotic exposure. We used a combination of next-generation sequencing and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) metabolomics to characterize the effects of two clinically important antibiotic treatments, ciprofloxacin and vancomycin-imipenem, on the intestinal microbiomes of female C57BL/6 mice. This assessment was performed longitudinally and encompassed both antibiotic challenge and subsequent microbiome reestablishment. Both antibiotic treatments significantly altered the microbiota and metabolite compositions of fecal pellets during challenge and recovery. Spearman's correlation analysis of microbiota and NMR data revealed that, while some metabolites could be correlated with individual operational taxonomic units (OTUs), frequently multiple OTUs were associated with a significant change in a given metabolite. Furthermore, one metabolite, arginine, can be associated with increases/ decreases in different sets of OTUs under differing conditions. Taken together, these findings indicate that reliance on shifts in one data set alone will generate an incomplete picture of the functional effect of antibiotic intervention. A full mechanistic understanding will require knowledge of the baseline microbiota composition, combined with both a comparison and an integration of microbiota, metabolomics, and phenotypic data.
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- metabolic activity
- microbiota composition
- Metabolic activity
- Microbiota composition