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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2019 May;236(5):1531-1544. doi: 10.1007/s00213-019-05217-z. Epub 2019 Mar 22.

Alcohol-induced changes in the gut microbiome and metabolome of rhesus macaques.

Author information

1
Program in Neuroscience, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS, USA.
2
New England Primate Research Center, Harvard Medical School, Southborough, MA, USA.
3
Department of Biostatistics, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.
4
Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, University of Mississippi Medical Center, 2500 N State Street, Jackson, MS, 39216, USA.
5
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA.
6
Program in Neuroscience, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS, USA. evallender@umc.edu.
7
New England Primate Research Center, Harvard Medical School, Southborough, MA, USA. evallender@umc.edu.
8
Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, University of Mississippi Medical Center, 2500 N State Street, Jackson, MS, 39216, USA. evallender@umc.edu.
9
Tulane National Primate Research Center, Covington, LA, USA. evallender@umc.edu.

Abstract

RATIONALE:

Increasing evidence has demonstrated that changes in the gut microbiome, including those associated with dietary influences, are associated with alterations in many physiological processes. Alcohol consumption is common across human cultures and is likely to have a major effect on the gut microbiome, but there remains a paucity of information on its effects in primates.

OBJECTIVES:

The effects of chronic alcohol consumption on the primate gut microbiome and metabolome were studied in rhesus macaques that were freely drinking alcohol. The objectives of the study were to determine what changes occurred in the gut microbiome following long-term exposure to alcohol and if these changes were reversible following a period of abstinence.

METHODS:

Animals consuming alcohol were compared to age-matched controls without access to alcohol and were studied before and after a period of abstinence. Fecal samples from rhesus macaques were used for 16S rRNA sequencing to profile the gut microbiome and for metabolomic profiling using mass spectrometry.

RESULTS:

Alcohol consumption resulted in a loss of alpha-diversity in rhesus macaques, though this was partially ameliorated by a period of abstinence. Higher levels of Firmicutes were observed in alcohol-drinking animals at the expense of a number of other microbial taxa, again normalizing in part with a period of abstinence. Metabolomic changes were primarily associated with differences in glycolysis when animals were consuming alcohol and differences in fatty acids when alcohol-drinking animals became abstinent.

CONCLUSIONS:

The consumption of alcohol has specific effects on the microbiome and metabolome of rhesus macaques independent of secondary influences. Many of these changes are reversed by a relatively short period of abstinence.

KEYWORDS:

Alcohol; Metabolome; Microbiome; Rhesus macaque

PMID:
30903211
PMCID:
PMC6613802
[Available on 2020-05-01]
DOI:
10.1007/s00213-019-05217-z
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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