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Cocaine use creates feedback loop with gut bacteria: mouse study

While progress is made day by day, Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) remains the biggest public health threat of the era with projections for ~10 million deaths per year by 2050. New studies reveal that controlled substances like Cocaine, have a negative impact on gut microbiota, increasing epinephrine levels, which not only influences animals’ response to these substances but also promotes the virulence of certain bacterial species, potentially affecting the AMR equation.

A mice study showed increased norepinephrine levels following Cocaine use that facilitated Proteobacteria colonization in the gut. Such colonization depleted glycine in the gut, blood, and CSF that altered Cocaine-induced neuroplasticity and drug responses. There are pieces of evidence supporting the fact that gut microbiome composition is linked to human behavior and gut bacteriophages are linked to cognition. Since the mice infected with the bacterium Citrobacter rodentium, the murine counterpart of a pathogenic E. coli in humans, are known to sense neurotransmitters from its host and increase its virulence in response to them, although just shown in mice for now, this could be a groundbreaking discovery to pave paths in solving the mystery of AMR, as well as could potentially be exploited to modulate reward-related brain circuits that contribute to SUDs.

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