Menu

Many Non-Antibiotic Drugs Affect Gut Bacteria

A new study finds that more than 200 human-targeted, non-antibiotic drugs inhibit the growth of bacterial species that make up part of the human microbiome.

Mar 20, 2018
Catherine Offord

FLICKR, NIAID

Antibiotics are known to influence the growth of bacteria in the human body. But new research led by a team at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Germany suggests that more than 200 non-antibiotic medicines with human-cell targets, from anti-inflammatory drugs to antipsychotic compounds, can also trigger changes. The findings were published yesterday (March 19) in Nature.

To explore the microbiome’s response to non-antibiotic drugs, the researchers individually tested nearly 1,200 medications—835 of which have human-cell targets—on 38 species of gut bacteria in vitro. The team found that around a quarter of medications with human targets, and 27 percent of the drugs over all, at least partially inhibited growth in one or more of the bacteria species. “For us, that was much more than we expected,” study coauthor Athanasios Typas of EMBL tells STAT News.

The effects of these changes are unclear, but are not necessarily harmful, notes study coauthor Peer Bork of EMBL. “This shift in the composition of our gut bacteria contributes to drug side-effects,” he says in a statement, “but might also be part of the drugs’ beneficial action.”

The researchers also found a connection between bacterial species that were unaffected by the tested therapies and species that were resistant to antibiotics, raising the possibility that non-antibiotic drugs could contribute to antibiotic resistance. “Antibiotic resistance emergence is quite a big health risk at the moment worldwide,” study coauthor Kiran Patil of EMBL tells The Guardian. “I think aspects that could contribute to this emergence should be looked at very seriously.”

In the meantime, the study highlights the extent to which many medications can influence the human microbiome, John Cryan, a neuropharmacologist at University College Cork in Ireland who was not involved in the study, tells The Guardian. “Moving forward,” he says, “we cannot ignore the microbiome when we talk about drug action in the body.”

April 2019

Will Car T Cells Smash Tumors?

New trials take the therapy beyond the blood

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

Getting More Consistent Results by Knowing the Quality of Your Protein
Getting More Consistent Results by Knowing the Quality of Your Protein
Download this guide from NanoTemper to learn how to identify and evaluate the quality of your protein samples!
Myth Busting: The Best Way to Use Pure Water in the Lab
Myth Busting: The Best Way to Use Pure Water in the Lab
Download this white paper from ELGA LabWater to learn about the role of pure water in the laboratory and the advantages of in-house water purification!
Shimadzu's New Nexera UHPLC Series with AI and IoT Enhancements Sets Industry Standard for Intelligence, Efficiency and Design
Shimadzu's New Nexera UHPLC Series with AI and IoT Enhancements Sets Industry Standard for Intelligence, Efficiency and Design
Shimadzu Corporation announces the release of the Nexera Ultra High-Performance Liquid Chromatograph series, incorporating artificial intelligence as Analytical Intelligence, allowing systems to detect and resolve issues automatically. The Nexera series makes lab management simple by integrating IoT and device networking, enabling users to easily review instrument status, optimize resource allocation, and achieve higher throughput.
IDT lowers genomic barriers with powerful rhAmpSeq™ targeted sequencing system
IDT lowers genomic barriers with powerful rhAmpSeq™ targeted sequencing system
Increasing accuracy and reducing cost barriers, IDT’s innovative system delivers simple and cost-effective amplicon sequencing