Review

Resurrecting the intestinal microbiota to combat antibiotic-resistant pathogens

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Science  29 Apr 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6285, pp. 535-538
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad9382

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Abstract

The intestinal microbiota, which is composed of diverse populations of commensal bacterial species, provides resistance against colonization and invasion by pathogens. Antibiotic treatment can damage the intestinal microbiota and, paradoxically, increase susceptibility to infections. Reestablishing microbiota-mediated colonization resistance after antibiotic treatment could markedly reduce infections, particularly those caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Ongoing studies are identifying commensal bacterial species that can be developed into next-generation probiotics to reestablish or enhance colonization resistance. These live medicines are at various stages of discovery, testing, and production and are being subjected to existing regulatory gauntlets for eventual introduction into clinical practice. The development of next-generation probiotics to reestablish colonization resistance and eliminate potential pathogens from the gut is warranted and will reduce health care–associated infections caused by highly antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

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