Nature. 2021 Sep;597(7877):533-538. doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-03891-8. Epub 2021 Sep 8.
Bioaccumulation of therapeutic drugs by human gut bacteria
"Here we investigated the depletion of 15 structurally diverse drugs by 25 representative strains of gut bacteria. This revealed 70 bacteria-drug interactions, 29 of which had not to our knowledge been reported before. Over half of the new interactions can be ascribed to bioaccumulation; that is, bacteria storing the drug intracellularly without chemically modifying it, and in most cases without the growth of the bacteria being affected. We find that duloxetine binds to several metabolic enzymes and changes the metabolite secretion of the respective bacteria. When tested in a defined microbial community of accumulators and non-accumulators, duloxetine markedly altered the composition of the community through metabolic cross-feeding. We further validated our findings in an animal model, showing that bioaccumulating bacteria attenuate the behavioural response of Caenorhabditis elegans to duloxetine. Together, our results show that bioaccumulation by gut bacteria may be a common mechanism that alters drug availability and bacterial metabolism, with implications for microbiota composition, pharmacokinetics, side effects and drug responses, probably in an individual manner.