Baseline gut microbiome composition predicts metformin therapy short-term efficacy in newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes patients

Ilze Elbere, Ivars Silamikelis, Ilze Izabella Dindune, Ineta Kalnina, Monta Ustinova, Linda Zaharenko, Laila Silamikele, Vita Rovite, Dita Gudra, Ilze Konrade, Jelizaveta Sokolovska, Valdis Pirags, Janis Klovins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Background The study was conducted to investigate the effects of metformin treatment on the human gut microbiome’s taxonomic and functional profile in the Latvian population, and to evaluate the correlation of these changes with therapeutic efficacy and tolerance. Methods In this longitudinal observational study, stool samples for shotgun metagenomic sequencing-based analysis were collected in two cohorts. The first cohort included 35 healthy nondiabetic individuals (metformin dose 2x850mg/day) at three time-points during metformin administration. The second cohort was composed of 50 newly-diagnosed type 2 diabetes patients (metformin dose–determined by an endocrinologist) at two concordant times. Patients were defined as Responders if their HbA1c levels during three months of metformin therapy had decreased by ≥12.6 mmol/mol (1%), while in Non-responders HbA1c were decreased by <12.6 mmol/mol (1%). Results Metformin reduced the alpha diversity of microbiota in healthy controls (p = 0.02) but not in T2D patients. At the species level, reduction in the abundance of Clostridium bartlettii and Barnesiella intestinihominis, as well as an increase in the abundance of Parabacteroides distasonis and Oscillibacter unclassified overlapped between both study groups. A large number of group-specific changes in taxonomic and functional profiles was observed. We identified an increased abundance of Prevotella copri (FDR = 0.01) in the Non-Responders subgroup, and enrichment of Enterococcus faecium, Lactococcus lactis, Odoribacter, and Dialister at baseline in the Responders group. Various taxonomic units were associated with the observed incidence of side effects in both cohorts. Conclusions Metformin effects are different in T2D patients and healthy individuals. Therapy induced changes in the composition of gut microbiome revealed possible mediators of observed short-term therapeutic effects. The baseline composition of the gut microbiome may influence metformin therapy efficacy and tolerance in T2D patients and could be used as a powerful prediction tool.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0241338
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

Field of Science*

  • 1.6 Biological sciences
  • 3.1 Basic medicine

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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