- A long-term prospective cohort study has found no association between increasing exposure to antibiotics up to age 2 years in children with a family history of allergy (and genotyping for mutations in the glutathione S-transferase [GST] superfamily genes) and subsequent development of impaired lung function or asthma at ages 12 and 18 years.
Why this matters
- First study to explore the link under the hypothesis that early antibiotic exposure alters the gut microbiome, disturbing normal colonization of intestinal microflora and delaying postnatal maturation of T helper cells.
- Antibiotic exposure to infants should be minimised, but there is no evidence of a relationship to development of compromised lung function or asthma.
- Prospective cohort of parent-report childhood antibiotic use (birth-2 years) in 620 infants with a family history of asthma, allergic rhinitis, eczema, or severe food allergy.
- Participants were genotyped for polymorphisms in GST-P, GST-M, GST-T.
- Funding: Nestec Ltd; Asthma Foundation of Victoria; National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia.
- No association between increasing days of early antibiotic exposure and reduced forced expiratory volume in 1 second or forced vital capacity or asthma at age 18 years
- No evidence linking GST-risk polymorphisms or specific types of antibiotics to later lung function deficits.
- Observational design.
- Reliance on parent reports of antibiotic type and duration.