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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Gut Pharmacomicrobiomics: the tip of an iceberg of complex interactions between drugs and gut-associated microbes

Rama Saad12, Mariam R Rizkallah12 and Ramy K Aziz134*

Author Affiliations

1 The Egyptian Bioinformatics and Systems Biology Network (EgyBio.net), Cairo, Egypt

2 The American University in Cairo, New Cairo, Egypt

3 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt

4 Current address: Systems Biology Research Group, UC San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA, 92093-0412, USA

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Gut Pathogens 2012, 4:16  doi:10.1186/1757-4749-4-16

Published: 30 November 2012

Abstract

The influence of resident gut microbes on xenobiotic metabolism has been investigated at different levels throughout the past five decades. However, with the advance in sequencing and pyrotagging technologies, addressing the influence of microbes on xenobiotics had to evolve from assessing direct metabolic effects on toxins and botanicals by conventional culture-based techniques to elucidating the role of community composition on drugs metabolic profiles through DNA sequence-based phylogeny and metagenomics. Following the completion of the Human Genome Project, the rapid, substantial growth of the Human Microbiome Project (HMP) opens new horizons for studying how microbiome compositional and functional variations affect drug action, fate, and toxicity (pharmacomicrobiomics), notably in the human gut. The HMP continues to characterize the microbial communities associated with the human gut, determine whether there is a common gut microbiome profile shared among healthy humans, and investigate the effect of its alterations on health. Here, we offer a glimpse into the known effects of the gut microbiota on xenobiotic metabolism, with emphasis on cases where microbiome variations lead to different therapeutic outcomes. We discuss a few examples representing how the microbiome interacts with human metabolic enzymes in the liver and intestine. In addition, we attempt to envisage a roadmap for the future implications of the HMP on therapeutics and personalized medicine.

Keywords:
Human microbiome project; Xenobitoics; Liver enzymes; Metagenome; Microbiota; Metabolomics; Metabonomics; Pharmacokinetics; Pharmacodynamics; Pharmacomicrobiomics