Scandinavian Journal Of Immunology
The use of antibiotics as well as changes in the gut microbiota have been linked to development of food allergy in childhood. It remains unknown whether administration of a single clinically relevant antibiotic directly promotes food allergy development when administrated during the sensitisation phase in an experimental animal model. We investigated whether the antibiotic amoxicillin affected gut microbiota composition, development of cow’s milk allergy (CMA) and frequencies of allergic effector cells and regulatory T cells in the intestine. Brown Norway rats were given daily oral gavages of amoxicillin for six weeks and whey protein concentrate (WPC) with or without cholera toxin three times per week for the last five weeks. Microbiota composition in faeces and small intestine was analysed by 16S rRNA sequencing. The development of CMA was assessed by WPC-specific IgE in serum, ear swelling response to WPC and body hypothermia following oral gavage of WPC. Allergic effector cells were analysed by histology, and frequencies of regulatory and activated T cells were analysed by flow cytometry. Amoxicillin administration reduced faecal microbiota diversity, reduced the relative abundance of Firmicutes and increased the abundance of Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria. Despite these effects, amoxicillin did not affect the development of CMA, nor the frequencies of allergic effector cells or regulatory T cells. Thus, amoxicillin does not carry a direct risk for food allergy development when administrated in an experimental model of allergic sensitisation to WPC via the gut. This finding suggests that confounding factors may better explain the epidemiological link between antibiotic use and food allergy.