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Perinatal exposure to tetracycline contributes to lasting developmental effects on offspring.

Animal microbiome (2021-05-13)
Elizabeth M Hill, Christopher D Howard, Tracy L Bale, Eldin Jašarević

For more than 30 years, the tetracycline on/off system of inducible gene expression has been leveraged to study disease mechanisms across many research areas, especially that of metabolism and neuroscience. This system requires acute or chronic exposure to tetracycline derivatives, such as doxycycline, to manipulate gene expression in a temporal and tissue-specific manner, with exposure often being restricted to gestational and early developmental windows. Despite evidence showing that early life antibiotic exposure has adverse effects on gut microbiota, metabolism, physiology, immunity and behavior, little is known regarding the lasting impact of doxycycline treatment on relevant outcomes in experimental offspring. To examine the hypothesis that early life doxycycline exposure produces effects on offspring growth, behavior, and gut microbiota, we employed the most commonly used method for tetracycline on/off system by administering a low dose of doxycycline (0.5 mg/ml) in the drinking water to C57Bl/6J and C57BL/6J:129S1/SvImJ dams from embryonic day 15.5 to postnatal day 28. Developmental exposure to low dose doxycycline resulted in significant alterations to growth trajectories and body weight in both strains, which persisted beyond cessation of doxycycline exposure. Developmental doxycycline exposure influenced offspring bacterial community assembly in a temporal and sex-specific manner. Further, gut microbiota composition failed to recover by adulthood, suggesting a lasting imprint of developmental antibiotic exposure. Our results demonstrated that early life doxycycline exposure shifts the homeostatic baseline of prior exposed animals that may subsequently impact responses to experimental manipulations. These results highlight the gut microbiota as an important factor to consider in systems requiring methods of chronic antibiotic administration during pregnancy and critical periods of postnatal development.

Product Number
Product Description

Doxycycline hyclate
Sucrose, ≥99.5% (GC)