The Endocrine Society

The Endocrine Society

April 06, 2016
2 min read

Early childhood antibiotics increase risk for prediabetes in adolescence

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BOSTON — Young children who take antibiotics are more likely to develop prediabetes as adolescents, likely due to a decrease of beneficial microbiota in the gut, according to study findings presented here.

“Increased consumption of antibiotics up to the age of 3 [years] seems to decrease beneficial gut microbes and alter nutrient absorption and metabolism,” Charikleia Stefanaki, MD, MSc, fellow and research associate in pediatric endocrinology at Athens University Medical School in Athens, Greece, said in a press release.

In a case-control study, Stefanaki and colleagues analyzed data from 10 adolescents aged 12 to 17 years with prediabetes (five girls; mean age, 15 years) and a control group of 14 adolescents without prediabetes (nine girls; mean age, 15 years). Researchers analyzed blood and fecal samples from both groups; all participants underwent an oral glucose tolerance test. Participants with prediabetes reported having taken antibiotics more than three times a year by age 3 years.

Compared with controls, the prediabetes group exhibited increased fasting morning glucose concentrations in three random evaluations (P = .044; P = .039; P < .001, respectively) and increased OGTT glucose measurements at baseline (P = .019) and at 60 minutes (P = .041). The prediabetes group also had fewer colony-forming units of Ruminococcus species per gram of stool.

The control group was 8.5 times less likely than the prediabetes group to have consumed antibiotics before age 3 years and 1.75 times more likely to have a positive family history for autoimmune diseases.

Researchers said the lack of Ruminococcus-degrading species in the prediabetes group “seems to herald the onset of glucose intolerance via a decrease of beneficial microbiota populations and consequent alterations in regional immunity.” The results point to the potential role of prebiotics and probiotics in diabetes prevention.

“Antibiotics should be administered only when really indicated,” Stefanaki said. “Gut microbes are a delicate ‘organ’ frequently neglected by the medical community that produces vitamins, hormones and micronutrients, interacts with the gut’s nervous system and influences the gut’s immune response.” – by Regina Schaffer

Reference :

Stefanaki C, et al. Poster Board SUN-702. Presented at: The Endocrine Society Annual Meeting; April 1-4, 2016; Boston.

Disclosure: One researcher reports serving as vice president and chief medical officer of Genova Diagnostics Inc. Stefanaki reports no relevant financial disclosures.

“Increased consumption of antibiotics up to the age of 3 [years] seems to decrease beneficial gut microbes and alter nutrient absorption and metabolism.”