Human microbiota characterization in the course of renal transplantation

Am J Transplant. 2014 Feb;14(2):416-27. doi: 10.1111/ajt.12588. Epub 2013 Dec 26.


Recent studies demonstrate that the human microbiota, the collection of microorganisms growing on and in individuals, have numerous bidirectional interactions with the host, influencing immunity, resistance to infection, inflammation and metabolism. Little has been done to study the potential associations between microbiota composition and transplant outcome. Here, we investigated the longitudinal changes in the blood, urinary, oral and rectal microbiota of renal allograft recipients before and at 1 and 6 months after transplantation. The results showed major changes in microbiota composition as a result of the transplant episode and associated medications, and these changes persisted over time. The high interindividual variation as well as differences in response to transplantation suggested that it is unlikely that the same specific microbiota members can serve as universal diagnostic markers. Rather, longitudinal changes in each individual's microbiota have the potential to be indicative of health or disease. Use of sensitive nucleic acid-based testing showed that urine, irrespective of disease states, more often harbors a diverse microbiota than appreciated by conventional culture techniques. These results lay the groundwork to construct more comprehensive future investigations to identify microbiota characteristics that can serve as diagnostic markers for transplant health and to guide intervention strategies to improve transplant outcome.

Keywords: Human microbiota; immunosuppression; renal transplantation; transplant outcome; urine microbiota.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bacterial Infections / diagnosis*
  • Bacterial Infections / genetics
  • Bacterial Infections / microbiology
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Graft Rejection / diagnosis
  • Graft Rejection / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / genetics
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / microbiology*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / surgery
  • Kidney Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Microbiota / genetics*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth / microbiology*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Prognosis
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Rectum / microbiology*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Urine / microbiology*


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S