Probiotics for prevention of urinary stones

Ann Transl Med. 2017 Jan;5(2):29. doi: 10.21037/atm.2016.11.86.


Background: Urinary supersaturation is one key determinant of calcium oxalate (CaOx) urinary stone formation, and urinary excretions of oxalate and citrate are two key determinants. Each is influenced by gastrointestinal processes.

Methods: Open label and randomized placebo studies have examined the effect of oral probiotic preparations on urinary supersaturation and oxalate excretion. Cross sectional studies in humans have studied the association of Oxalobacter formigenes colonization status and urinary oxalate excretion and prevalence of urinary stones. The intestinal microbiome of representative animals adapted to a high oxalate diet has been defined.

Results: The fecal content of O. formigenes, the best studied oxalate-degrader, varies depending on stone status. However, trials with probiotics designed to degrade oxalate including those containing O. formigenes, Lactobacillus, and/or Bifidobacterium spp., have been disappointing. Multiple intestinal segments of animals on a high oxalate diet contains diverse communities of microorganisms that can function together to degrade and detoxify a large oxalate load.

Conclusions: Although the intestinal microbiome seems likely to play a role to modify gastrointestinal absorption of lithogenic substances and hence urinary stone risk, whether we can develop tools to manipulate it and decrease this kidney stone risk remains to be determined.

Keywords: Calcium oxalate (CaOx); Lactobacilli; Oxalobacter formigenes; microbiome; nephrolithiasis.