Bacterial stress in the gut environment might increase the fitness cost associated with antibiotic resistance mechanisms: on the way to biorestoration of susceptible populations

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Fernando Baquero, Jeronimo Rodríguez-Beltrán, Teresa M Coque, Rosa del-Campo


The acquisition and expression of antibiotic resistance implies changes in bacterial cell physiology, imposing fitness costs. Many human opportunistic pathogenic bacteria, such as those causing urinary tract or bloodstream infections, colonize the gut. In this review, we will examine the various types of stress that these bacteria might suffer during their intestinal stay. These stresses, and their compensatory responses, probably have a fitness cost, which might be additive to the cost of expressing antibiotic resistance. Such an effect could result in a disadvantage relative to antibiotic susceptible populations that might replace the resistant ones. The hypothesis proposed in this paper is that the effect of these combinations of fitness costs should be tested in antibiotic resistant bacteria with susceptible ones as controls. This testing might provide opportunities to increase the bacterial gut stress using physiological biomolecules or derivatives of them. This approach to reduce the burden of antibiotic-resistant populations certainly must be answered empirically. In the end, the battle against antibiotic resistance should be won by antibiotic-susceptible organisms. Let us help them prevail.



Medicine and Health Sciences


Fitness cost antibiotic resistance, bacterial stress in the gut, antibiotic susceptibility restoration


Published: 2023-11-28 10:48

Last Updated: 2023-11-28 15:48


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