18 May 2016
Vol 8, Issue 339

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ONLINE COVER Antibiotics: A Double-Edged Sword. Patients receiving an allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant often develop neutropenic fever, which is treated with antibiotics. Such antibiotic treatment also may inadvertently wipe out beneficial intestinal bacteria that reduce gut inflammation. Transplant patients treated with certain broad spectrum antibiotics show an increase in graft-versus-host disease in the colon (Shono et al.). Analysis of a mouse model revealed that this was due to loss of beneficial gut bacteria and overgrowth of bacterial strains that consumed the protective mucus layer of the colon rendering it more susceptible to inflammation and injury. [CREDIT: SHONO ET AL./SCIENCE TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE]