As babies leave their mothers' wombs, they are colonized by commensal bacteria. A new study shows that these microbes in a newborn's gut can promote an increase in circulating neutrophils that can guard the body from infections. Altering a neonate's gut microbiota with perinatal antibiotic treatment can impair neutrophils, leaving the newborn vulnerable to attack by harmful bacteria (pages 524–530).
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The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Thanabalasuriar, A., Kubes, P. Neonates, antibiotics and the microbiome. Nat Med 20, 469–470 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1038/nm.3558
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