The Leaky Gut and Altered Microbiome in Chronic Kidney Disease

J Ren Nutr. 2017 Nov;27(6):458-461. doi: 10.1053/j.jrn.2017.02.010.


Chronic kidney disease results in disruption of the intestinal epithelial barrier as well as profound changes in the gut microbial flora. These events are largely mediated by (1) heavy influx of circulating urea to the gut lumen and (2) dietary restrictions of foods containing high fiber (such as fruits and vegetable) and symbiotic organisms (such as yogurt and cheese) imposed to mitigate hyperkalemia and hyperphosphatemia. Collectively, these factors promote systemic inflammation and cardiovascular morbidity by mediating microbial dysbiosis, disruption of the intestinal epithelial barrier, and translocation of endotoxin, bacterial fragments, and uremic toxins across the "leaky gut" into the bloodstream. Strategies aimed at increasing dietary fiber and lowering urea burden may help to attenuate uremia-induced microbial dysbiosis and epithelial barrier breakdown, and thereby improve systemic inflammation.

MeSH terms

  • Disease Progression
  • Dysbiosis / complications
  • Dysbiosis / microbiology
  • Epithelium / metabolism
  • Epithelium / microbiology
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / complications
  • Inflammation / microbiology
  • Intestines / microbiology
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / complications
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / microbiology*
  • Uremia / complications
  • Uremia / microbiology