Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 103, Issue 13, pp 5269–5283 | Cite as

Antibiotics-induced perturbations in gut microbial diversity influence metabolic phenotypes in a murine model of high-fat diet-induced obesity

  • Dongmin Liu
  • Beibei Wen
  • Kun Zhu
  • Yong Luo
  • Juan Li
  • Yinhua Li
  • Haiyan Lin
  • Jianan HuangEmail author
  • Zhonghua LiuEmail author
Applied genetics and molecular biotechnology


Gut microbiota play a key role in the regulation of obesity and associated metabolic disorders. To study the relationship between them, antibiotics have been widely used to generate pseudo-germ-free rodents as control models. However, it is not clear whether antibiotics impact an animal’s metabolic phenotype. Therefore, the effect of antibiotics-induced gut microbial perturbations on metabolic phenotypes in high-fat diet (HFD) fed mice was investigated. The results showed that antibiotics perturbed gut microbial composition and structure. Community diversity and richness were reduced, and the phyla Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes (F/B) ratio was decreased by antibiotics. Visualization of Unifrac distance data using principal component analysis (PCA) and unweighted pair-group method with arithmetic mean (UPGAM) demonstrated that fecal samples of HFD-fed mice separated from those of chow diet (CD) fed mice. Fecal samples from antibiotics-treated and non-treated mice were clustered into two different microbial populations. Moreover, antibiotics suppressed HFD-induced metabolic features, including body weight gain (BWG), liver weight (LW), epididymal fat weight (EFW), and serum levels of total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), fasting blood glucose (FBG), and insulin (INS) significantly (P < 0.05). Lachnospiraceae, Ruminiclostridium and Helicobacter, biomarkers of mouse gut microbiota before treatment by antibiotics, were positively correlated with obesity phenotypes significantly (P < 0.05) and were decreased by (92.95 ± 5.09) %, (97.73 ± 2.09) % and (99.48 ± 0.21) % respectively after 30 days of treatment by antibiotics. However, Bacteroidia were enriched in HFD-fed antibiotics-treated mice and were negatively correlated with obesity phenotypes significantly (P < 0.05). We suggested that the antibiotics-induced depletion of Lachnospiraceae, Ruminiclostridium, and Helicobacter, and the decrease in F/B ratio in gut microbiota played a role in the prevention of HFD-induced obesity in mice.


Antibiotics Gut microbiota Metabolic phenotype Obesity HFD (high fat diet) 



The authors wish to thank the Key Laboratory of Ministry of Education for Tea Science in China and the National Research Center of Engineering Technology for Utilization of Botanical Functional Ingredients in China for their financial support. This study was supported by the National Major R & D Project in China (2017YFD0400803) and China Tea Research System Project (CARS19-09B).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

The animal protocol used in this study was approved by the Animal Care Committee at Hunan Agricultural University and performed in accordance with the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals published by the Ministry of Health, People’s Republic of China.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dongmin Liu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Beibei Wen
    • 1
  • Kun Zhu
    • 1
  • Yong Luo
    • 1
  • Juan Li
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  • Yinhua Li
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  • Haiyan Lin
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  • Jianan Huang
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  • Zhonghua Liu
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Ministry of Education for Tea ScienceHunan Agricultural UniversityChangshaChina
  2. 2.Hunan University of Science and EngineeringYongzhouChina
  3. 3.National Research Center of Engineering Technology for Utilization of Botanical Functional IngredientsChangshaChina
  4. 4.Collaborative Innovation Center of Utilization of Functional Ingredients from BotanicalsChangshaChina

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