Changes in microbiome diversity following beta-lactam antibiotic treatment are associated with therapeutic versus subtherapeutic antibiotic exposure in cystic fibrosis

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Scientific Reports








In persons with cystic fibrosis (CF), decreased airway microbial diversity is associated with lower lung function. Conflicting data exist on the impact of short-term antibiotics for treatment of acute pulmonary exacerbations. However, whether differences in antibiotic exposure impacts airway microbiome changes has not been studied. We hypothesized that subtherapeutic beta-lactam antibiotic exposure, determined by the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics (PK/PD) after intravenous (IV) antibiotic administration, would be associated with different patterns of changes in CF airway microbial diversity. Eligible children were enrolled when well; study assessments were performed around the time of pulmonary exacerbation. Plasma drug concentrations and bacterial minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) were used to determine therapeutic versus subtherapeutic beta-lactam antibiotic exposure. Respiratory samples were collected from children, and extracted bacterial DNA was amplified for the V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene. Twenty children experienced 31 APEs during the study; 45% (n = 14) of antibiotic courses were deemed therapeutic. Those in the therapeutic group had more significant decreases in alpha diversity at end of treatment and post-recovery compared to baseline than those in the subtherapeutic group. Therapeutic and subtherapeutic beta-lactam use is associated with different patterns of changes in CF airway microbial diversity following antibiotic administration.

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