Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gut bacteria may affect whether a statin drug lowers cholesterol

Date:
October 14, 2011
Source:
Duke University Medical Center
Summary:
Statins can be effective at lowering cholesterol, but they have a perplexing tendency to work for some people and not others. Gut bacteria may be the reason.

Statins can be effective at lowering cholesterol, but they have a perplexing tendency to work for some people and not others. Gut bacteria may be the reason.

A research team led by a Duke University scientist has identified three bile acids produced by gut bacteria that were evident in people who responded well to a common cholesterol-lowering drug called simvastatin. The finding, published Oct. 13, 2011, in PLoS One, demonstrates how gut bacteria can cause inherent differences in the way people digest, metabolize and benefit from substances such as drugs.

The study represents the intersection of two emerging research interests: An analysis of the intestinal microflora, plus the use of a science called metabolomics, which examines the thousands of biochemical components involved in cellular metabolism and how they affect health.

"This is personalized medicine -- the effects of drugs and how we respond," said lead author Rima Kaddurah-Daouk, Ph.D., an associate professor in Duke's Department of Psychiatry and leader of the Pharmacometabolomics Network. "We found that the benefit of statins could be partly related to the type of bacteria that lives in our guts. The reason we respond differently is not only our genetic makeup, but also our gut microbiome."

The researchers gathered data from a subset of participants enrolled in a large, national project called the Cholesterol and Pharmacogenetics (CAP) study, which was led by co-author Ronald M. Krauss, M.D., of Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute. In the smaller gut bacteria trial, Kaddurah-Daouk, Krauss and colleagues identified 100 people from the CAP study whose LDL cholesterol fell dramatically as a result of taking simvastatin; 24 who had a fairly good response on the drug; and 24 who showed little benefit.

They then analyzed the blood work from the participants before any had taken the drug, searching for known bile acids and fat-like substances called sterols that are involved in the body's break-down and use of cholesterol.

Among the group who had a strong response to the drug, three bile acids appeared to play a role. The bile acids are produced by certain gut bacteria, which are increasingly understood as factories for chemicals that can contribute to a state of health. Among the people who responded poorly to the statin, five different bile acids were commonly evident.

The researchers hypothesize that because bile acids and statins share transporter routes to the liver and intestines -- they are basically in competition for a ride -- producing more or less of certain bile acids could improve or diminish the drug's effects.

A blood test that screens for these specific bile acids could provide a way for doctors to determine who would respond to simvastatin and who wouldn't. Additionally, new strategies could be developed to manipulate the gut microbiome using probiotics to spur different gut bacteria, which could then give the drugs a boost.

"We really need to partner with diagnostic and pharmaceutical companies to target drugs for subpopulations," Kaddurah-Daouk said. "It's no doubt that metabolites from bacteria are playing an important role in regulating our systems. We're at a very early stage of understating this relationship, but eventually we could take a quick chemical assay and get a read on where we are metabolically."

In addition to Kaddurah-Daouk and Krauss, study authors include Rebecca A. Baillie; Hongjie Zhu; Zhao-Bang Zeng; Michelle M. Wiest; Uyen Thao Nguyen; Katie Wojnoonski; Steven M. Watkins; Miles Trupp; Ronald M. Krauss.

The study was funded with support from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Kaddurah-Daouk reported she is an equity holder in a biotechnology company involved in metabolomics; Kaddurah-Daouk, Krauss, Baillie and Watkins are also listed as inventors on a patent application for statin metabolism.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Duke University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Rima Kaddurah-Daouk, Rebecca A. Baillie, Hongjie Zhu, Zhao-Bang Zeng, Michelle M. Wiest, Uyen Thao Nguyen, Katie Wojnoonski, Steven M. Watkins, Miles Trupp, Ronald M. Krauss. Enteric Microbiome Metabolites Correlate with Response to Simvastatin Treatment. PLoS ONE, 2011; 6 (10): e25482 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0025482

Cite This Page:

Duke University Medical Center. "Gut bacteria may affect whether a statin drug lowers cholesterol." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111013184815.htm>.
Duke University Medical Center. (2011, October 14). Gut bacteria may affect whether a statin drug lowers cholesterol. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111013184815.htm
Duke University Medical Center. "Gut bacteria may affect whether a statin drug lowers cholesterol." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111013184815.htm (accessed April 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) A disease that has killed more than six million cave-dwelling bats in the United States is on the move and wildlife biologists are worried. White Nose Syndrome, discovered in New York in 2006, has now spread to 25 states. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) That little voice telling you to exercise, get in shape and get healthy is probably coming from your boss. More companies are beefing up wellness programs to try and cut down their health care costs. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) Scientists say for the extremely elderly, their stem cells might reach a state of exhaustion. This could limit one's life span. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) The Food and Drug Administration wants to crack down on the use of e-cigarettes, banning the sale of the product to minors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins