Evolutionary modeling suggests that addictions may be driven by competition-induced microbiome dysbiosis

Ohad Lewin-Epstein*, Yanabah Jaques, Marcus W. Feldman, Daniela Kaufer, Lilach Hadany*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Recent studies revealed mechanisms by which the microbiome affects its host’s brain, behavior and wellbeing, and that dysbiosis – persistent microbiome-imbalance – is associated with the onset and progress of various chronic diseases, including addictive behaviors. Yet, understanding of the ecological and evolutionary processes that shape the host-microbiome ecosystem and affect the host state, is still limited. Here we propose that competition dynamics within the microbiome, associated with host-microbiome mutual regulation, may promote dysbiosis and aggravate addictive behaviors. We construct a mathematical framework, modeling the dynamics of the host-microbiome ecosystem in response to alterations. We find that when this ecosystem is exposed to substantial perturbations, the microbiome may shift towards a composition that reinforces the new host state. Such a positive feedback loop augments post-perturbation imbalances, hindering attempts to return to the initial equilibrium, promoting relapse episodes and prolonging addictions. We show that the initial microbiome composition is a key factor: a diverse microbiome enhances the ecosystem’s resilience, whereas lower microbiome diversity is more prone to lead to dysbiosis, exacerbating addictions. This framework provides evolutionary and ecological perspectives on host-microbiome interactions and their implications for host behavior and health, while offering verifiable predictions with potential relevance to clinical treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number782
JournalCommunications Biology
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Funding

FundersFunder number
Clore Foundation Scholars Programme
UC Berkeley-TAU
Israel Science Foundation2064/18

    Fingerprint

    Dive into the research topics of 'Evolutionary modeling suggests that addictions may be driven by competition-induced microbiome dysbiosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this