Fecal metabolite profiling identifies liver transplant recipients at risk for postoperative infection

Cell Host Microbe. 2024 Jan 10;32(1):117-130.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2023.11.016. Epub 2023 Dec 15.


Metabolites produced by the intestinal microbiome modulate mucosal immune defenses and optimize epithelial barrier function. Intestinal dysbiosis, including loss of intestinal microbiome diversity and expansion of antibiotic-resistant pathobionts, is accompanied by changes in fecal metabolite concentrations and increased incidence of systemic infection. Laboratory tests that quantify intestinal dysbiosis, however, have yet to be incorporated into clinical practice. We quantified fecal metabolites in 107 patients undergoing liver transplantation (LT) and correlated these with fecal microbiome compositions, pathobiont expansion, and postoperative infections. Consistent with experimental studies implicating microbiome-derived metabolites with host-mediated antimicrobial defenses, reduced fecal concentrations of short- and branched-chain fatty acids, secondary bile acids, and tryptophan metabolites correlate with compositional microbiome dysbiosis in LT patients and the relative risk of postoperative infection. Our findings demonstrate that fecal metabolite profiling can identify LT patients at increased risk of postoperative infection and may provide guideposts for microbiome-targeted therapies.

Keywords: Enterobacterales; Enterococcus; infection; liver transplant; metabolome; microbiome; multiple-drug-resistant organism; postoperative.

MeSH terms

  • Dysbiosis
  • Fatty Acids
  • Feces
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Liver Transplantation* / adverse effects


  • Fatty Acids