Exploring the human gut microbiota targets in relation to the use of contemporary antidepressants

Shih Kai Kevin Lin, Hsi Chung Chen, Chun Hsin Chen, I. Ming Chen, Mong Liang Lu, Cheng Dien Hsu, Yi Hang Chiu, Tsung Yang Wang, Hui Mei Chen, Yu Chu Ella Chung, Po Hsiu Kuo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Antidepressants, specifically selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), are commonly prescribed for depression treatment. Animal studies have shown that antidepressants can influence gut microbiota composition and specific bacterial taxa. We aimed to investigate the association between antidepressant use and human gut microbiota composition and functional pathway. Methods: We collected information on antidepressant use, demographic, food patterns, and clinical characteristics through questionnaires and medical records. The gut microbiota profiles of 271 depressive patients were carried out through 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Patients were categorized based on different types of antidepressant use groups for gut microbiota comparisons. MaAsLin2 was performed to evaluate microbiota composition across groups. PICRUSt2 was used to predict microbiota functional pathways. Results: Patients taking SSRIs or SNRIs had a lower microbiota diversity. We found seven taxa abundances (Turicibacter, Barnesiella, Lachnospiraceae_ND3007_group, Romboutia, Akkermansia, Dialister, Romboutia and Fusicatenibacter) differed in patients with various types of antidepressants compared with those without antidepressant treatments (p < 0.05). Turicibacter inversely correlated with depression severity in SSRIs or SNRI users (r = −0.43, p < 0.05). Top identified pathways were related to compound fermentation and biosynthesis in microbiota function. Conclusion: Antidepressant usage, especially SSRIs and SNRIs, associates with changes in gut microbiota composition and specific taxa. Given our study's preliminary cross-sectional nature, further research is warranted to comprehend the relationship between antidepressant use, treatment response, and gut microbiota, aiming to enhance therapeutic interventions in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-484
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2024


  • Antidepressants
  • Depression
  • Gut microbiome
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Exploring the human gut microbiota targets in relation to the use of contemporary antidepressants'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this