Gut microbiome in chronic kidney disease

Exp Physiol. 2016 Apr;101(4):471-7. doi: 10.1113/EP085283. Epub 2015 Oct 2.


What is the topic of this review? This review addresses the contribution of the altered gut microbiome to uraemic syndrome, with specific reference to gut microbiome-derived uraemic toxins. It also discusses the potential treatment options to normalize the disturbed microbiome in chronic kidney disease (CKD). What advances does it highlight? This review highlights the importance of the gut-kidney connection and how the altered microbial landscape in the intestine contributes to dysmetabolism and inflammation in CKD. Recent findings linking gut-derived uraemic toxins to progression of CKD, cardiovascular disease and mortality are also discussed. Finally, we briefly explain targeted therapies that have been studied to restore intestinal symbiosis in CKD. The human intestine is now recognized as an important metabolic organ powered by gut microbiota. This review addresses the alteration in the gut microbiome in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and its consequence. We describe the major uraemic toxins, p-cresol sulfate, indoxyl sulfate and trimethylamine N-oxide, which are produced by the gut microbiome, and how these metabolites contribute to progression of CKD and associated cardiovascular disease. Translocation of endotoxin from the gut into the systemic circulation contributes to inflammation in CKD. Targeting the gut microbiome to restore symbiosis may prove to be a potent strategy in reducing inflammation and production of these uraemic toxins.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / microbiology
  • Disease Progression
  • Endotoxins / metabolism
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / metabolism
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / physiology
  • Humans
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / metabolism
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / microbiology*


  • Endotoxins