Journal Of Neuroimmunology
A growing body of evidence demonstrates that an imbalance in the intensive communication between gut microbiota and the host might be associated with immune-related disorders such as multiple sclerosis. This study set out to determine whether antibiotic treatment during pregnancy and lactation can affect the onset and severity of clinical symptoms and inflammatory responses in offspring with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE; a mouse model of multiples sclerosis). Female C57BL/6 mice received antibiotics or vehicles during pregnancy and lactation, then their offspring were induced with EAE in adulthood. We also measured interleukin (IL)-6, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interferon-gamma (IFN-γ), IL-17A, IL-10, and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β in the serum of offspring. The findings indicate that antibiotic treatment in dams significantly exacerbated the severity of EAE clinical symptoms in both male and female offspring. However, antibiotic treatment only accelerated the onset of EAE disease in male but not female offspring. We did not find any significant changes in cytokines in non-EAE male and female offspring treated with antibiotics. Antibiotic treatment significantly enhanced levels of IL-6, TNF-α, IFN-γ, IL-17A, and TGF-β in EAE-induced male offspring, and IFN-γ, IL-17A, and IL-10 levels in EAE-induced female offspring. There were also sex differences in the onset and severity of EAE disease, and inflammatory cytokines (IL-6, IFN-γ, and IL-17A) between EAE-induced male and female offspring treated with antibiotics. Taken together, this study suggests that antibiotic treatment during pregnancy and lactation in dams might affect the development of the immune system in male and female offspring in adulthood.