Scientists have found that many infants do not respond to antibiotic treatment, even if the drugs have not been used before. Scientists have found that the resistance of bacteria could be transmitted from the mother, other people or from the environment.
Resistant bacteria have resistance genes – ARGs. The totality of such genes in all intestinal bacteria is a resistome. Another reason may be mobile genetic elements (MGEs). The more bacteria with resistance genes in the intestine, the more difficult infections are to treat.
Scientists have found that infants have more of these genes than adults. To test how the mother’s microbiota affects antibiotic resistance in an infant, scientists conducted a study involving 16 mother-child pairs.
Metagenomic sequencing was used to evaluate the composition of ARGs and MGEs in the intestinal microbiota and mother’s milk, and also compared them with resistome and mobile genetic elements of the child. They found that they are similar in mothers and infants and are tolerated during childbirth and lactation.
It was also revealed that the resistance and composition of MGEs in infants are affected by intrauterine antibiotic prophylaxis and the duration of breastfeeding. In children who ate mother’s milk for longer than 6 months, antibiotic resistance decreased compared to those with a shorter period.
Antibiotic prophylaxis, on the contrary, increased the content of ARGs and MGEs in infants. That is, the consumption of antibiotics by the mother can have a persistent increase in the resistance of the child’s bacteria. This is especially true when an antibiotic is administered intravenously during childbirth. Since at this moment the first large-scale colonization of the baby’s intestines takes place, changes in the microbiota of the vagina strongly affect their microbiota..
Thus, mothers share the genes of intestinal bacteria and breast milk with their children, simultaneously influencing the formation of antibiotic resistance.
*The immune system and gut microbiota of infants are less developed than in adults, so they are more easily at risk of carrying resistant pathogens. The latter cause septic infections in 3 million newborns annually.17.01.2022