The metabolic functionality of the gut microbiota contributes to the metabolism and well-being of its host, although detailed insight in the microbiota's metabolism is lacking. Omics technologies could facilitate unraveling metabolism by the gut microbiota.
In this study, we performed metabolite profiling of different matrices of the gut, after antibiotic treatment of rats in order to evaluate metabolite changes observed at different dose levels and in different sexes, and to identify the best tissue matrix for further investigations regarding an assessment of metabolic effects of new compounds with antibiotic activity. Three different antibiotics (vancomycin, streptomycin and roxithromycin) were administered orally to rats for 28days according to the OECD 407 guideline with a subsequent metabolic profiling in feces, cecum content and gut tissue (jejunum, ileum, cecum, colon and rectum). The data were analyzed in the MetaMap®Tox database.
Treatment-related effects could be observed in the metabolite profile of feces and cecum content, but not of the different gut tissues. The metabolite profile showed compound specific effects on the microbiome. In line with the activity spectra of the antibiotics tested, vancomycin showed the largest effects, followed by roxithromycin and then by streptomycin for which changes were modest. In general, for all antibiotics the largest changes were observed for the classes of lipids (increase up to 94-fold), bile acids (increase up to 33-fold), amino acids (increase up to 200-fold) and amino acid related (increase up to 348-fold). The most relevant changes in metabolite values were similar in feces and cecum content and among sexes. The results of this targeted analysis indicate that the metabolic profiles of male and female animals in the gut microbiome are comparable. Concluding, taking other samples than feces does not add any extra information. Thus, as a non-invasive sampling method, feces provide a suitable matrix for studies on metabolism by the gut microbiota.