Pre-treatment with antibiotics and Escherichia coli to equalize the gut microbiota in conventional mice.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The composition of the gut microbiota can vary widely between individual mice of the same batch and thereby affect the resulting outcome in experimental studies. Therefore, an efficient method is needed to equalize the gut microbiota prior to the start of critical experiments. In order to minimize variations in gut microbiota between animals and provide the animals with a Gram-negative flora exposing lipopolysaccharides in the cell-walls, C57BL/6 mice were given a mixture of ampicillin, metronidazole and clindamycin in the drinking water for 3 days and then Escherichia coli for two additional days. Treatment with antibiotics alone or with antibiotics in combination with E. coli was well tolerated by all animals. Body weight and liver weight were not affected, although higher hepatic fat content was found in treated animals (p < 0.05). The diversity of the gut microbiota was strongly reduced in animals treated with antibiotics and antibiotics in combination with E. coli (p < 0.01), without affecting the total amount of bacteria. Cloned and sequenced 16S rRNA genes showed high presence of Enterobacteriaceae and Porphymonadaceae in the treated animals. Analysis with Principal Component Analysis gave a clear separation of the composition in microbiota between different treatment groups. The described treatment efficiently equalized the gut microbiota and provided the animals with a strong abundance of Enterobacteriaceae without changing the total load of bacteria. This is a straightforward, lenient and efficient method of pre-treatment to equalize the gut microbiota of mice as a starting procedure of animal studies.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Food Engineering
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-156
JournalAntonie van Leeuwenhoek
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry (011001300), Food Technology (011001017)