Our body acts as a breeding ground for antibiotic resistance genes

Lhe widespread use of antibiotics has led to a dramatic increase in antibiotic resistance, recognized today as one of the most serious threats to global public health.

New research has found that despite your own use of antibiotics, the number of genes in antibiotic resistance in your gut microbiome is heavily influenced by national trends in antibiotic consumption.

The study (link below) suggests that the genes ofantibiotic resistance spread so easily through microbial populations that our bodies could act as a reservoir of antibiotic resistance.

According to Chris Quince, co-lead author of the study and professor at Warwick Medical School at the University of Warwick (UK):

Even a healthy individual, who has not taken antibiotics recently, is constantly bombarded by microbes from people or even animals with whom he interacts, which leads to the integration of resistance genes in his own microbiota. If they live in a population where antibiotic consumption is high, resistance genes are more numerous in their microbiome.

While the use of antibiotics can prevent the growth of pathogenic bacteria or kill them, it can also cause collateral damage to the rest of the body. microbiomethe set of microbes that live naturally in and on our body, the majority of which are non-pathogenic and the development of antibiotic resistance genes.

The researchers analyzed more than 3,000 gut microbiome samples taken from healthy people in 14 different countries, comparing the antibiotic resistance genes identified in the samples to those in the Comprehensive Antibiotic Resistance Database (comprehensive database on antibiotic resistance).

Selon Quince :

We deliberately focused on samples taken from healthy people, or at least people who we could be sure were not taking antibiotics. We wanted to see the genetic profile of the gut microbiome without the influence of any antimicrobial.

The researchers identified an average of 16 antibiotic resistance genes per stool sample, and this number varied between the 14 countries, with a five-fold variation between the lowest levels (in the Netherlands) and the highest ( in Spain).

Still according to Quince:

We found that in countries where antibiotics are taken more regularly, people also have a higher number of resistance genes in their gut microbiome.

This is all because our microbiome is not an isolated system, with microbes being constantly passed between humans and due to the horizontal gene transferwhere microbes in our bodies can share genetic information, such as antibiotic resistance genes, with each other.

Our body constantly imports and exports microbes and pathogenic strains. These strains themselves pass genes on to each other, which means the challenge ofantibiotic resistance must be addressed at both the micro and macro level.

Falk Hildebrand, co-author of the study and professor at theInstitute Fouran English food and health research centre:

We have known for a few years that antimicrobial resistance genes can spread incredibly quickly between gut bacteria. This study is very important because it allows, for the first time, to quantify the impact of the national use of antibiotics on our bacteria. commensals and gives us insight into the common types of resistance we can expect to evolve.

The researchers plan to continue their research to study this relationship in other countries to inform public health strategies.

The study published in Nature Communications: Population-level impacts of antibiotic usage on the human gut microbiome and presented on the Earlham Institute website: Human body a breeding ground for antimicrobial resistance genes.

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