Offspring weaken when parents are given antibiotics

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Antibiotics once proclaimed the salvation of the world. Today, researchers fear that antibiotics are becoming a threat to public health and the natural environment.

Since its invention, we have used antibiotics in such high doses and so often that more and more of us are becoming resistant, and so common, harmless infections can become fatal to us.

In recent years, research has also shown that simply being exposed to antibiotics can have a negative effect. both on the exposed organism and on the offspring of the organism.

Always in our water

And many of us, humans and animals, are exposed to antibiotics. Antibiotics are often found in sewage, groundwater, surface water and even bottled water and are therefore difficult to avoid.

“The half-life of antibiotics is quite short – they are out of the water again after hours or days – but as large amounts are continually being released into our water, we consider antibiotics to be water pollution. pseudo persistent,” says Elvis Genbo Xu. , expert in ecotoxicology and assistant professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Southern Denmark.

He is co-corresponding author of a new study on the adverse effects of antibiotics, published in Environmental Science & Technology. The background to the study is that in recent years, researchers have discovered that antibiotics can have a detrimental effect on descendants of people exposed to drugs.

“In this study, we looked at the offspring of zebrafish that were exposed to CTC, which is a common antibiotic. The CTC concentrations in the experiment matched the concentrations wild organisms can encounter in nature. We can see that the younger generations, i.e. the offspring, are less effective at fighting bacteria and generally have a weaker immune system than the parent generation,” says Elvis Genbo Xu.

Specifically, the study shows that the first generation of zebrafish, born to parents exposed to CTC, had weakened antibacterial defenses and decreased immune cell counts. The latter also applied to the third generation. When an organism’s immune system is weakened, the organism becomes less able to fight off viruses and bacteria and therefore more prone to disease.

Previous research has also shown that males among so-called false scorpions (Cordylocherna scorpioides) had lower sperm quality when their fathers were exposed to the antibiotic tetracycline: the number of viable sperm dropped by 25%.

Source of the story:

Materials provided by University of Southern Denmark. Original written by Birgitte Svennevig. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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