Antidepressants can make bacteria resistant to antibiotics, experts from the University of Queensland have found. The results are described in an article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
The scientists have conducted a number of experiments on the effects of five of the most popular antidepressants on E. coli (E. coli). Phenotypic and genotypic analyses were used and then a computer model was generated. Antidepressants were added to bacteria multiplying in an oxygen-rich environment. In response, the microorganisms created specific oxygen molecules that activated their defense systems. In addition, the bacteria were stimulated to have a system to divert molecules they did not want, such as those found in antibacterial drugs.
The researchers concluded that antidepressants increase the number of mutations in the bacteria, making them resistant to antibacterial drugs (13 antibiotics were tested in total). At the same time, there was selection of resistance-related genes in pathogens, and one type of antidepressant caused gene transfer between cells, which is another mechanism of resistance development.
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