Carbohydrate-induced resilience of the gut microbiota after exposure to antibiotics
Antibiotica zijn van groot belang om infecties te bestrijden. Echter, een keerzijde van antibioticumgebruik is dat het ook onze darmbacteriën raakt, wat als gevolg kan hebben dat we vatbaarder worden voor darminfecties of dat ons metabolisme in de war raakt. De mate waarop de darmbacteriën worden geraakt door antibiotica en hoe snel ze zich herstellen, verschilt per persoon. Waarom dat zo is, is onbekend. Met ons onderzoek willen we daarom aantonen welke mechanismen ten grondslag liggen aan deze individuele variatie en of we het herstel van de darmbacteriën na antibioticumgebruik kunnen verbeteren met specifieke suikers die bepaalde bacteriën stimuleren.
The aim of our proposal is to identify subject-specific impacts of antibiotics on the intestinal microbiota and its subsequent resilience level, and to study whether administration of non-digestible carbohydrates can improve resilience and metabolic health in subjects with slow microbiota recovery
The problem, the proposed approach and the envisaged solution
The timing of this proposal is excellent. Research on the intestinal microbiota in relation to health and diet is a hot topic as demonstrated by the explosive increase in high impact publications in this field during the past years. Although our insight has benefitted from this development, there is the unfortunate drawback that the research becomes more and more driven by statistics than biology.
This explains why we still do not understand very important general ecological concepts, such as resilience of the microbiota. Hence, the research we propose will focus on this important biological concept. We will determine which microbes are associated with resilience, how they can be stimulated by non-digestible carbohydrates, and how improved resilience impacts our (metabolic) health. The fact that we have already conducted and published a controlled human intervention with vancomycin and amoxicillin, including access to subject-specific host and microbial data, provides an unique and excellent starting point to conduct the proposed research.
Our research uses a combination of in vivo and in vitro approaches using two antibiotics as model, which can easily be implemented to study other mammalian ecosystems, antibiotics as well as dietary components. Hence, it is evident that the three participating companies will benefit from our study, the more since they will also provide indigestible carbohydrates of their interest for this study.
This proposal is unique in its set-up and will provide novel insights into the resilience of the microbiota, which microbes are involved and what their modes of actions are. This will be of high value for the scientific community. Since our proposal will also identify carbohydrates that improve resilience of the microbiota, thereby also impacting host metabolic health, it also opens avenues for the private sector to market these. Last but not least, data will be presented at (inter)national congresses and the applicants have an extensive network reaching the scientific and general public, patient and professional organisations (dieticians, medical doctors) to communicate the implications of the research and how these can be implemented in order to reduce risks related to antibiotics side effects by improving resilience of the microbiota.