Research ArticleMUCOSAL IMMUNITY

Antibiotics induce sustained dysregulation of intestinal T cell immunity by perturbing macrophage homeostasis

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Science Translational Medicine  24 Oct 2018:
Vol. 10, Issue 464, eaao4755
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aao4755

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Antibiotic manipulation of mucosal macrophages

Antibiotics are routinely administered but can affect more than just the infection for which they are prescribed. Scott et al. investigated how antibiotics can influence the immune system in mouse models of mucosal immunity. They found that, even after microbial repopulation, antibiotics repolarized mucosal macrophages to push CD4+ T cells to become TH1 cells. This left the mice more susceptible to infections that require other types of T cell immunity for protection. The immune defect could be rescued by exogenous administration of the microbial metabolite butyrate. This study provides strong evidence that antibiotics can perturb mucosal macrophages, key cells for maintaining homeostasis and mounting immune responses.