Mucosal 5-aminosalicylic acid concentration, drug formulation and mucosal microbiome in patients with quiescent ulcerative colitis

Maya Olaisen, Olav Spigset, Arnar Flatberg, Atle van Beelen Granlund, Wenche Rødseth Brede, Grethe Albrektsen, Elin Synnøve Røyset, Bodil Gilde, Arne Kristian Sandvik, Tom Christian Martinsen, Reidar Fossmark
Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics 2019, 49 (10): 1301-1313

BACKGROUND: 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA) is the first-line therapy for ulcerative colitis (UC). 5-ASA acts locally in the colonic mucosa by numerous proposed mechanisms, and is metabolised by N-acetyltransferase (NAT). Large variations in mucosal 5-ASA concentrations have been reported, but the underlying mechanisms are not understood.

AIM: To study the relationship between 5-ASA concentration, 5-ASA formulation, NAT genotype and bacterial microbiome in patients with UC.

METHODS: Patients with quiescent UC, using monotherapy of Mezavant (n = 18), Asacol (n = 14) or Pentasa (n = 10), 4.0-4.8 g/day were included. 5-ASA was measured in colonic mucosal biopsies and serum by ultra-high performance liquid chromatography. NAT genotypes were determined by Sanger sequencing. Bacterial microbiome was sequenced from faeces and mucosa by 16S rRNA sequencing using Illumina Miseq.

RESULTS: Mezavant provided the highest mucosal 5-ASA levels (geometric mean 2.39 ng/mg), followed by Asacol (1.60 ng/mg, 33% lower, P = 0.50) and Pentasa (0.57 ng/mg, 76% lower, P = 0.033). Mucosal 5-ASA concentration was not associated with NAT genotype, but serum 5-ASA concentration and NAT1 genotype was associated (P = 0.044). Mucosal 5-ASA concentration was positively associated with mucosal bacterial diversity (P = 0.0005) and bacterial composition. High mucosal 5-ASA concentration was related to reduced abundance of pathogenic bacteria such as Proteobacteria, and increased abundance of several favourable bacteria such as Faecalibacterium.

CONCLUSIONS: Mucosal 5-ASA concentration is positively associated with bacterial diversity and a mucosal bacterial composition that are perceived favourable in UC. Mezavant yielded higher mucosal 5-ASA concentrations than Pentasa. 5-ASA may have beneficial effects on the mucosal microbiome, and high concentrations possibly amend dysbiosis in UC.

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