Woman taking antibiotic

Are effects of antibiotics reflected in the metabolome?

by | Dec 7, 2021 | Literature, Microbiome, Pharmacology

Elucidating the relations between gut bacterial composition and the plasma and fecal metabolomes of antibiotic treated wistar rats

The gut microbiome influences many key functions within an organism. When a drug is administered, this can have a substantial impact not only on the individual’s health status and the immune system, but on the gut bacterial community in their microbiome. Antibiotics result in particularly significant alterations in the composition of the gut microbiome.
In order to better understand the correlation between antibiotics, the microbiome, and the fecal or plasma metabolome, a 28-day oral toxicity study was conducted in Wistar rats treated with six different antibiotics (Streptomycin sulfate, Roxithromycin, Sparfloxacin, Vancomycin, Clindamycin and Lincomycin hydrochloride).

In the analysis, Murali and colleagues provided a detailed connectivity map to show how changes in the bacterial community correlate to changes in fecal and plasma metabolites. Interestingly, the results showed alterations in bacterial composition that were specific to the class of antibiotics. Streptomycin was the only treatment that did not have a major effect on the fecal microbiome, which is consistent with microbial diversity analyses.

Overall, the study demonstrated a close connection between the microbiome and the fecal metabolome, but a weaker correlation between the fecal and plasma metabolomes. The strongest correlations between microbiome, fecal, and plasma metabolome were obtained with bile acids.

The study demonstrates that gut dysbiosis can be easily detected by metabolomics from blood. These findings provide a useful resource for future studies to promote a deeper understanding of the links between the microbiome and metabolome.

Interested in applying metabolomics in microbiome or drug studies? Check out our microbiome focus page or further studies on the microbiome or on pharmacology.


Murali et al.: Elucidating the Relations between Gut Bacterial Composition and the Plasma and Fecal Metabolomes of Antibiotic Treated Wistar Rats. (2021) Microbiology Research | https://doi.org/10.3390/microbiolres12010008

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