Faculty Mentor

Charles B. Coughlin, Associate Lecturer

Faculty Mentor Department



Over past few decades, new insight has been revealed in the scientific community about the importance of the human gut microbiome relating to general health. It is known that imbalances in the species that reside in the human gut can cause organism-wide problems in humans. When prescribing or injecting oral medications, the thought of the downstream effects on the gut microbiome are not always considered. By exposing known healthy members of the gut; Akkermansia muciniphila, Bacteroides fragilis, Clostridium sordellii, and Clostridium difficile to the Aspirin, this study attempted to provide insight into the effects of the drug on bacterial growth. While these species only account for a small percentage of the total biodiversity of the gut microbiome, they are some of the most thoroughly studied and well known. A. muciniphila is known to occur in higher concentrations in healthy, low body mass index individuals which suggests that aspirin alternatives may be beneficial in some clinical cases. To accomplish the goal of this study, time courses were designed to analyze if different dosages of Aspirin inhibited the growth curve of each species when compared to growth curves of the same species in drug-free media. Aspirin was found to have a dose-dependent effect in growth rate of A. muciniphila, B. fragilis, C. sordellii, and C. difficile resulting in a significant decrease in the exponential growth phase of all four species. This suggested that aspirin inhibited cell culture growth in a dose-dependent manner. Aspirin’s toxic affect to these important commensal species of the human gut should be considered by practitioners prior to prescription.