Gut microbiota: a potential new territory for drug targeting

Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2008 Feb;7(2):123-9. doi: 10.1038/nrd2505.


The significant involvement of the gut microbiota in human health and disease suggests that manipulation of commensal microbial composition through combinations of antibiotics, probiotics and prebiotics could be a novel therapeutic approach. A systems perspective is needed to help understand the complex host-bacteria interactions and their association with pathophysiological phenotypes so that alterations in the composition of the gut microbiota in disease states can be reversed. In this article, we describe the therapeutic rationale and potential for targeting the gut microbiota, and discuss strategies and systems-oriented technologies for achieving this goal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibody Formation
  • Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Bacteria / growth & development
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Drug Design*
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / immunology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / metabolism
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / immunology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Intestinal Mucosa / microbiology*
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use*