06 Sep Bacterial Microbiome Could Enhance Effects of Metformin
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Even though Metformin is the first-line treatment option in type-2 diabetic patients, its specific mechanism of action has remained elusive so far. Moreover, metformin is of particular interest as an anti-aging drug since it’s usage has been shown to be associated with a lower incidence of several aging diseases in type-2 diabetic patients taking metformin when compared to matched healthy controls.
While previous work was able to show pronounced changes in the microbiota of patients taking metformin and a health-promoting effect of metformin-adapted microbiota, how this beneficial effect could be mediated has remained unclear.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: Together with Filipe Cabreiro from the Imperial College in London we were able to show that in the model organism C. elegans treatment with metformin rewires bacterial metabolism ultimatively leading to the production of agmatine which is a known health-promoting compound. Moreover, we identified a large number of nutritional compounds that could either enhance or suppress the effect of metformin on the host via the microbiota using a high-throughput screening approach. Using computational modelling on microbiome data from a large cohort of type-2 diabetic patients along with healthy controls we were able to show that also the much more complex microbiota of humans showed a considerably increased capacity to produce agmatine when patients took metformin.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Nutrition and diet are important modulators of the host response to medication. With the approach developed in our work it is now possible to disentangle the complex network of interaction between nutrition, microbiota, medication and the host.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: Our research opens up the avenue for the development of specific dietary guidelines or even genetically modified bacteria that could enhance the effects of metformin and reduce its side-effects. Moreover, these results provide a new clue for understanding how the health-promoting effects of metformin are mediated.
I have nothing to disclose.
Here is the link to “Host-Microbe-Drug-Nutrient Screen Identifies Bacterial Effectors of Metformin Therapy”: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0092867419308918
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