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The clearance of neomycin and kanamycin from the intestines after stopping oral supply has been determined in mice. Both antibiotics, although given in different doses, were excreted in essentially the same way; the clearance being a little faster than logarithmically in both cases. The importance of this observation with regard to isolation and the moment of reconventionalization is discussed.
The effect of oral administration of antibiotics on the intestinal flora of conventional mice and their resistance to colonization by orally introduced Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa was studied. Colonization resistance (CR) was expressed as the log of the oral bacterial dose followed by a persistent take in 50 % of the contaminated animals. The intestinal flora was virtually eliminated by the antibiotics and this elimination was accompanied by a precipitous fall of CR. CR gradually returned to normal values during the period of repopulation of the intestinal tract by the organisms surviving the treatment. Antibiotic treatment resulted in the disappearance of Enterobacteriaceae, enterococci, staphylococci and yeasts and, under appropriate housing conditions, the animals remained free of these organisms indefinitely. Germ-free mice contaminated with the intestinal flora of an antibiotic-treated animal and their offspring housed in a germ-free isolator showed high values of CR. Their intestinal flora consisted of anaerobic bacteria only. Apparently, these anaerobes are responsible for CR in these and in conventional mice.
After oral contamination of conventional mice with high doses of Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae or Pseudomonas aeruginosa the contaminant was recovered in abnormally high concentrations from the duodenum and caecum during the first few days. In this initial colonization phase, evidence of spread was obtained by culturing the cervical and mesenteric lymph nodes and spleen. Longer after contamination the intestinal concentration decreased to normal and spread stopped. In orally antibiotic-treated mice, the situation seen during the initial colonization phase in conventional mice occurred after a much lower oral contamination dose and persisted during the entire observation period of 2 weeks.
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