Quantitative polymerase chain reaction-based analyses of murine intestinal microbiota after oral antibiotic treatmentMore about Open Access at the Crick
Authors listRebeca Jimeno Lumeras Phillip Brailey Patricia Barral
The gut microbiota has a central influence on human health. Microbial dysbiosis is associated with many common immunopathologies such as inflammatory bowel disease, asthma and arthritis. Thus, understanding the mechanisms underlying microbiota-immune system crosstalk is of crucial importance. Antibiotic administration, while aiding pathogen clearance, also induces drastic changes in the size and composition of intestinal bacterial communities which can have an impact on human health. Antibiotic treatment in mice recapitulates the impact and long-term changes in human microbiota from antibiotic treated patients, and enables investigation of the mechanistic links between changes in microbial communities and immune cell function. While several methods for antibiotic treatment of mice have been described, some of them induce severe dehydration and weight-loss complicating the interpretation of the data. Here, we provide two protocols for oral antibiotic administration which can be used for long-term treatment of mice without inducing major weight-loss. These protocols make use of a combination of antibiotics that target both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and can be provided either ad libitum in the drinking water or by oral gavage. Moreover, we describe a method for the quantification of microbial density in fecal samples by qPCR which can be used to validate the efficacy of the antibiotic treatment. The combination of these approaches provides a reliable methodology for the manipulation of the intestinal microbiota and the study of the effects of antibiotic treatment in mice.