Project Information

Project Title:

The impact of antibiotics on intestinal microbiota of infants

Principal Investigator(s):

Kozyrskyj, Anita L; Scott, James A


Becker, Allan B; Befus, A. Dean; Mandhane, Piush

Institution Paid:

University of Alberta

Research Institution:

University of Alberta 




Catalyst Grant: Human Microbiome



Assigned Peer Review Committee:

CHM Catalyst Grant: Human Microbiome

Primary Institute:

Infection and Immunity 

Primary Theme:

Social/Cultural/Environmental/Population Health

Term (Yrs/Mths):

1 yr 0 mth  

CIHR Contribution:


Amount Equipment

Inst of Infection & Immunity

$86,030 $4800




Differences in intestinal microbiota have been found between allergic and non-allergic infants, and antibiotic use in early infancy has been linked to the development of allergic disease in children. Disruption of the intestinal microbiota is the proposed mechanism behind the association between antibiotic use in early life and allergic disease, but the evidence to support this thesis in humans is modest. Microflora studies in infants have either lacked information on antibiotic use or have been conducted soon after birth, at a time when antibiotic use, especially broad-spectrum antibiotic, is limited. Further, alteration of intestinal microbiota varies according to type of antibiotic, but this level of detail is not consistently available from parent-reported datasets. As part of the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study, a four-site 5000 subject birth cohort study of the origins of allergic disease, we propose to evaluate the effect of antibiotic utilization in a subset of 100 infants on their intestinal microbiota at birth, 3 months and one year of age. This will be achieved through linkage of detailed database information on antibiotic prescription use in infants with their fecal bacterial profiles. Bacterial profiles will be determined using DNA fingerprinting of a common bacterial gene region combined with DNA sequencing. Antibiotic use in the infant will be evaluated against other factors which influence microbiota, such as mode of delivery and type of infant feeding. As this methodology has not yet been pursued, the proposed pilot study is needed to develop the processes for conducting these analyses for the whole CHILD cohort. An eventual objective of this research will be to determine whether antibiotic-induced changes in microbiota are associated with the development of allergic disease in children. In the end, the knowledge gained will inform guidelines for the judicious use of antibiotics during infancy.