Effect of antibiotics on Oxalobacter formigenes colonization of human gastrointestinal tract

J Endourol. 2005 Jan-Feb;19(1):102-6. doi: 10.1089/end.2005.19.102.


Background and purpose: Oxalobacter formigenes is a bacterium residing in the human gastrointestinal tract that degrades oxalate and reduces its availability for absorption. This bacterium is assumed to be antibiotic sensitive, and repeated antibiotic therapies could eradicate it. The aim of the present study was to determine the differences in the colonization by O. formigenes of individuals who had been on antibiotics for at least 5 days at the time of sample collection and individuals who had not taken antibiotics for at least 3 months.

Patients and methods: Stool samples were collected from 80 individuals without stone disease (35 with and 45 without antibiotic consumption) and 100 patients with stone disease (20 with and 80 without antibiotic consumption). Oxalobacter formigenes was detected by a polymerase chain reaction-based method, and the presence/absence of O. formigenes was correlated with urinary oxalate concentrations.

Results: Lower percentages of individuals without stone disease and with stone disease who were consuming antibiotics had O. formigenes colonization than individuals without antibiotic consumption. Urinary oxalate concentrations were higher in the individuals without O. formigenes than in colonized individuals.

Conclusion: Our observations confirm a direct association between antibiotic consumption and absence of O. formigenes. Absence of intestinal O. formigenes could represent a pathogenic factor in calcium oxalate urolithiasis when antibiotics are prescribed generously.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Absorption / drug effects
  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Blotting, Southern
  • Calcium Oxalate / metabolism
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • DNA, Bacterial / analysis
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / metabolism
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Calculi / chemistry
  • Kidney Calculi / etiology
  • Kidney Calculi / urine
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxalobacter formigenes / drug effects
  • Oxalobacter formigenes / genetics
  • Oxalobacter formigenes / growth & development*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Risk Factors


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Calcium Oxalate