Exposure to Antibiotics Affects Saponin Immersion-Induced Immune Stimulation and Shift in Microbial Composition in Zebrafish Larvae

Frontiers in Microbiology

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Authors

Adrià López Nadal, David Peggs, Geert F. Wiegertjes, and Sylvia Brugman

  • saponin
  • zebrafish
  • microbiota
  • oxytetracycline
  • ciprofloxacin
  • neutrophils
  • macrophages

In the last decades, pollution of the environment by large scale use of antibiotics in agriculture and human medicine have led to increased antimicrobial resistance in both the environment and the host animal microbiome. Disturbances in the host microbiome can result in impaired immunity and reduced resilience of aquaculture species. Here, we investigated whether environmentally measured levels of the commonly used antibiotics ciprofloxacin and oxytetracycline influences the host microbiome and susceptibility toward saponin-induced immune stimulation in larval zebrafish. Firstly, neutrophil and macrophage reporter zebrafish larvae were exposed to different concentrations of soy saponin by immersion. A dose-dependent increase in neutrophil presence in the intestinal area was observed together with increased expression of immune genes il1b, tnfa, il22 and mmp9. To investigate the effect of antibiotics, larval zebrafish were immersed in ciprofloxacin or oxytetracycline in the presence or absence of a low dose of saponin. In vivoimaging revealed that antibiotic treatment did not reduce the number of neutrophils that were recruited to the intestinal area upon saponin exposure, although it did tend to lower pro-inflammatory cytokine levels. Microbial sequencing of whole larvae revealed that exposure to a low dose of saponin already shifted the microbial composition. The combination of oxytetracycline and saponin significantly increased α-diversity compared to the controls. In conclusion, the current study provides evidence that the combination of low levels of antibiotics with low levels of anti-nutritional factors (saponin) can induce inflammatory phenotypes and can modify the microbiota, which might lead to altered disease susceptibility.