Acarbose is a commonly prescribed antidiabetic drug that helps control blood sugar levels by inhibiting human enzymes that break down complex carbohydrates. Now, new research from the laboratory of Princeton researcher Mohamed Donia demonstrates that some bacteria in the mouth and gut can inactivate acarbose and potentially affect the clinical performance of the drug and its impact on bacterial members of the human microbiome. The paper appeared online and in the December 2, 2021 issue of the journal Nature.

“Numerous studies have clearly shown that the human microbiome, the collection of microbes living in and on the human body, can affect our health, disease, and ability to respond to various therapeutic interventions. What is still relatively rare, however, are cases where such effects are defined on molecular and mechanistic levels – this is exactly what we set out to do in this study,” said Mohamed Donia, associate professor in the Department of Molecular Biology at Princeton.

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