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Extensive impact of non-antibiotic drugs on human gut bacteria.

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PubMed ID: 29555994

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Maier L, Pruteanu M, Kuhn M, Zeller G, Telzerow A, Anderson EE, Brochado AR, Fernandez KC, Dose H, Mori H, Patil KR, Bork P, Typas A

Nature. Mar 2018. doi: 10.1038/nature25979

COMMENT: It is known that taking antibiotics can disrupt our gut microbiome and result in unintended consequences for health and disease. This study reveals that many non-antibiotic drugs might also alter the composition of our gut bacteria in a similar way.

In this article Maier et al. screened more than 1,000 marketed drugs against 40 representative gut bacterial strains, and found that 24% of the drugs with human targets, including members of all therapeutic classes, inhibited the growth of at least one strain in vitro. Particular classes, such as the chemically diverse antipsychotics, were overrepresented in this group.

The effects of human-targeted drugs on gut bacteria are reflected on their antibiotic-like side effects in humans and are concordant with existing human cohort studies. Susceptibility to antibiotics and human-targeted drugs correlates across bacterial species, suggesting common resistance mechanisms, which we verified for some drugs. The potential risk of non-antibiotics promoting antibiotic resistance warrants further exploration.

These results provide a resource for future research on drug-microbiome interactions, opening new paths for side effect control and drug repurposing, and broadening our view of antibiotic resistance.

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Javier Velasco