Heterogeneity in statin responses explained by variation in the human gut microbiome

June 10, 2022

Despite the undeniable cholesterol lowering benefits of statin therapy, considerable heterogeneity exists in individual responses to the same treatment. Human gut bacteria are known to metabolize statins in vitro, but there is limited information on how microbiome composition may contribute to statin on-target and/or adverse effects. Here, the authors identify a novel blood-based biomarker for monitoring statin effects in two large, independent human cohorts. They identify gut microbiome features robustly associated with variable statin responses, both in terms of on-target (cholesterol lowering) and adverse (insulin resistance) effects. Furthermore, these microbiome-statin associations are independent of human genetic variation associated with statin response variability. These results support the potential clinical utility of monitoring the gut microbiome for optimizing drug therapy.