Some medicines may last a long time after you stop taking them. These substances are able to accumulate in the cells of the intestinal microflora and remain there, gradually being released. This conclusion was reached by Kiran Patil and his colleagues from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), whose article was published in the journal Nature.
Doctors understand that gut bacteria can interfere with the effectiveness of medication. As a rule, this is associated with biotransformation - chemical modifications that microbes carry out, changing the structure of the drug. However, a new work by European biologists has discovered a previously unknown mechanism of interaction between drugs and bacteria - bioaccumulation.
Scientists have experimented with 25 types of typical representatives of the intestinal microflora and 15 types of various drugs. It turned out that in more than half of them, their interaction did not lead to chemical changes in the drugs. Instead, the substances simply accumulated in the intracellular "stores".
Such accumulation can lead to changes in the state and metabolism of intestinal microbes, change the balance between different species and strains. In addition, with the death of such cells, some of the accumulated drugs are able to be absorbed by the intestine and enter the body, causing therapeutic (and side) effects after the drug is stopped. Scientists have demonstrated this in experiments with the microflora of the Caenorhabditis elegans worms, which were fed the antidepressant duloxetine.