Background: The human gut microbiome is comprised of trillions of microbes (gut microbiota) and their genomes. Recent research has shown that the gut microbiome has important functions for human health and disease. Opioid use and misuse can be associated with gastrointestinal side effects such as chronic constipation; however, the effects of opioid exposure on the gut microbiome are not well understood.

Methods: We have started to use a pre-clinical model of opioid dependence to investigate the impact of oxycodone on the gut microbiome. Opioid induced changes in the fecal microbiota composition in adolescent rats were assessed using fecal samples collected over a 5-day time course of oxycodone administration and subsequent compositional analyses by 16S ribosomal RNA amplicon high-throughput sequencing on an Illumina MiSeq system. The resulting amplicon sequence variant (ASV) data were used for alpha and beta diversity analyses and microbial taxa classification to genus level. Differential abundance analyses of the ASV datasets from control and oxycodone-treated samples revealed specific changes in the fecal microbiota composition after opioid administration. The details and potential implications of these microbial community alterations for the host will be presented.

Conclusions: This study is a first assessment of the impact of opioids on the intestinal microbiome in adolescent rats. It will serve as a foundation for future, more detailed studies on the consequences of opioid use/misuse on intestinal homeostasis, the gut microbiome, and the microbiome-gut-brain axis.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 22 Feb 2021
EventOklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences Research Days 2021: Poster presentation - Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences Campus, Tulsa, United States
Duration: 22 Feb 202126 Feb 2021


ConferenceOklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences Research Days 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Microbiome
  • Opioids
  • Gastrointestinal


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