Shift of uterine microbiota associated with antibiotic treatment and cure of metritis in dairy cows

Soo Jin Jeon, Fabio S. Lima, Achilles Vieira-Neto, Vinicius S. Machado, Svetlana F. Lima, Rodrigo C. Bicalho, Jose Eduardo P. Santos, Klibs N. Galvão

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Broad-spectrum antibiotics such as ceftiofur and ampicillin are recommended for the treatment of metritis in dairy cows. Nonetheless, little is known about the impacts of antibiotics on the uterine microbiota. Here, we evaluated the shift in uterine microbiota after treating metritic cows with ceftiofur or ampicillin, and also gained insight into the uterine microbiota associated with cure of metritis. Uterine swabs from ceftiofur-treated, ampicillin-treated, and untreated metritic Holstein cows were collected on the day of metritis diagnosis (D1) and on D6 and then used for genomic DNA extraction and sequencing of the V4 hypervariable region of the 16S rRNA gene on the Illumina MiSeq platform. The uterine microbiota consolidated over time by decreasing species richness and increasing evenness; therefore, becoming more homogeneous. The uterine microbial community showed distinct clustering patterns on D6 according to antibiotic treatment, which could be attributed to more dynamic changes in the microbial structure from D1 to D6 in ceftiofur-treated cows. Ceftiofur led to significant changes at the community level, phylum level, and genus level, whereas the changes in ampicillin and untreated cows, although following the same pattern, were mostly non-significant. Bacteroidetes was significantly increased in ceftiofur-treated cows but was not changed after ampicillin and no treatment. Different responses to antibiotics were observed in Porphyromonas, which increased in relative abundance with ceftiofur and decreased with ampicillin. Regardless of treatment group, failure to cure metritis was associated with a decrease in diversity of uterine microbiota and an increase in the relative abundance of Bacteroides, Porphyromonas, and Fusobacterium.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-139
Number of pages8
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
StatePublished - Feb 2018


  • 16S metagenomic sequencing
  • Ampicillin
  • Ceftiofur
  • Cow
  • Metritis
  • Microbiota
  • Uterus


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