Chronic kidney disease alters intestinal microbial flora

Kidney Int. 2013 Feb;83(2):308-15. doi: 10.1038/ki.2012.345. Epub 2012 Sep 19.


The population of microbes (microbiome) in the intestine is a symbiotic ecosystem conferring trophic and protective functions. Since the biochemical environment shapes the structure and function of the microbiome, we tested whether uremia and/or dietary and pharmacologic interventions in chronic kidney disease alters the microbiome. To identify different microbial populations, microbial DNA was isolated from the stools of 24 patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and 12 healthy persons, and analyzed by phylogenetic microarray. There were marked differences in the abundance of 190 bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs) between the ESRD and control groups. OTUs from Brachybacterium, Catenibacterium, Enterobacteriaceae, Halomonadaceae, Moraxellaceae, Nesterenkonia, Polyangiaceae, Pseudomonadaceae, and Thiothrix families were markedly increased in patients with ESRD. To isolate the effect of uremia from inter-individual variations, comorbid conditions, and dietary and medicinal interventions, rats were studied 8 weeks post 5/6 nephrectomy or sham operation. This showed a significant difference in the abundance of 175 bacterial OTUs between the uremic and control animals, most notably as decreases in the Lactobacillaceae and Prevotellaceae families. Thus, uremia profoundly alters the composition of the gut microbiome. The biological impact of this phenomenon is unknown and awaits further investigation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intestines / microbiology*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / microbiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Uremia / microbiology