Acarbose is a safe and effective medication for type 2 diabetes that inhibits host glucoamylases to prevent starch digestion in the small intestines and thus decrease postprandial blood glucose levels. This results in an increase in dietary starch in the distal intestine, where it becomes food for the gut bacterial community. Here, we examined the effect of acarbose therapy on the gut community structure in mice fed either a high-starch (HS) or high-fiber diet rich in plant polysaccharides (PP). The fecal microbiota of animals consuming a low dose of acarbose (25 ppm) was not significantly different from that of control animals that did not receive acarbose. However, a high dose of acarbose (400 ppm) with the HS diet resulted in a substantial change to the microbiota structure. Most notably, the HS diet with a high dose of acarbose lead to an expansion of the Bacteroidaceae and Bifidobacteriaceae and a decrease in the Verrucomicrobiaceae (such as Akkermansia muciniphila) and the Bacteroidales S24-7. Once acarbose treatment ceased, the community composition quickly reverted to mirror that of the control group, suggesting that acarbose does not irreversibly alter the gut community. The high dose of acarbose in the PP diet resulted in a distinct community structure with increased representation of Bifidobacteriaceae and Lachnospiraceae. Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) measured from stool samples were increased, especially butyrate, as a result of acarbose treatment in both diets. These data demonstrate the potential of acarbose to change the gut community structure and increase beneficial SCFA output in a diet-dependent manner.
Read more at: mSphere